Bonny Doon Old Telegram Mourvedre is made from 100 percent 100% Mourvedre.
Like the Rhone classic, it is produced from grapes which the label identifies as Mataro, an alias under which thick-skinned, late-ripening Mourvedre sometimes goes. From the nose, one scents licorice, blood(!) (make that very rare meat), blackberries (both berry and leaf), wet earth. There is a definite scent of beef bouillon, one of the absolute true signifiers of (proper) Mourvèdre. On the palate, the tannins are very plush and soft, almost a sense of sweetness (emphatically no R.S. in this), but with a really vibrant acidity and very great length. We somehow skirted the peril of over- ripeness and raisination, which is always a bit of a peril in the sunny climes of Antioch, CA. The wine is rich but also quite elegant at the same time.
Pairs with Wine-braised lamb shanks with herbes de Provence. Enoki mushroom tempura with soy-based dipping sauce. Hoisin-marinated chicken breasts served with wild & brown rice medley. Wild mushroom & thyme pizza. Pork shoulder. Beef short ribs.
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua is made from 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 13% Syrah.
As our story unfolds, we learn that with the 2018 vintage, there has been a fundamental change in the style of Le Cigare Volant. Not that there was anything at all “wrong” with the thirty-four vintages preceding the current one, mind you. For a number of reasons, mostly, alas, drearily fiscal/economical, the older style of Cigare has unfortunately proven to be a not particularly sustainable proposition at least from a financial perspective. The “new” Cigare, with a re-adjustment of the encépagement, by which we have dropped Mourvèdre from the mix and elevated the percentage of the (greatly underappreciated) and quite brilliant variety, Cinsault, creates a style of wine far more approachable and seductive in its youth.
We call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a sort of probe, perhaps a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a kind of reconnaissance mission to check us out. (Ok, this last part is a bit of interpolation.) Anyhoo, it has been agreed that this was a very, very strange object that recently came to visit. And it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much-needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.
The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch nose (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruit (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend will change (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘17 certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: Juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and for liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.
INEYARD | PRODUCTION NOTES
The Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County, was planted years back to one of the earlier selections of Tablas Creek Grenache clones, typically not a great selection for imparting real backbone or structure to the wine, but capable of making a wine that is enormously pretty and fragrant; in cool years, the fragrance of cassis or black currant is almost overpowering; most surprisingly, the Grenache in cool years from this vineyard is profoundly black in color. The Cinsault was sourced from the Loma del Rio Vineyard, a vineyard, under a previous nom de guerre (San Bernabe), we know quite well. This was the first year of production for the Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that we were able to coferment the Cinsault with Syrah from the equally cool Mesa Verde Vyd. in the Santa Ynez Valley. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color, and in general, insures that the blend will not evanesce tout de suite into the aetherial plane. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault.
Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyards: 48% Alta Loma, 35% Loma Del Rio, 6% Mesa Verde, 6% Zayante, 4% Rancho Solo 1% Lieff
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
TA: 6.1 g/L
Production: 11,500 cases
Cellaring: Drinkable upon release (6/19) with ageability of 7-10 years
Bonny Doon Clos de Gilroy is made from 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre.
For a long time Randall Grahm went to bed aïoli, clovèd in nothing but the barest essential oils. The Wine Formerly Known as Clos de Gilroy (TWFKaCdG) pays homage to the quaint, rustic town of Gilroy, the spiritual locus of all matters alliaceous. However, note well, the fruit for this wine does not, despite its name, derive from Gilroy, but instead primarily from the vivaciously scented Alta Loma vineyard in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County, accompanied by equally expressive Grenache from Rancho Solo, located just outside the wind-swept, tumble-weeded town of Soledad. (Il faut souffrir.) Grenache is really the star of the show, and it exhibits all the hallmarks of exceptional coolth—bright raspberries, red fruit, esp. black currant, with a strong suggestion of black pepper and mint, a whiff of dark earth, and a supple, lingering finish.
Bonny Doon Vineyard aims for weapons-grade fruit from their sundry Grenache vineyards, with the intent of producing killer Cigare, but sometimes they end up Clos (but no Cigare). A somewhat more elegant Clos de Gilroy than one has typically seen in years past, this wine has the elegance of a Proustian madeleine, and supports the notion that Grenache is the stylistic analogue (writ South) of Burgundian Pinot noir. This wine is exceptionally spicy, peppery and perfumed, and pairs exceptionally well with a range of dishes, not the least being peppered ahi tuna steak. Best served with a slight chill, especially as the weather warms up.
Bonny Doon Vineyard’s winemaking practice is exceptionally light-handed, with minimal intervention and manipulation. The 2017 Clos de Gilroy was created from grapes deriving from three cool climate Monterey County vineyards as well as one warmer (but older and wiser) side in Contra Costa. The fruit was hand-sorted, gently destemmed, and cold soaked to enhance flavor and persistence.
Varietal Blend: 88% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre.
Vineyards: 34% Alta Loma, 39% Rancho Solo, 15% Ventana, 12% Del Barba
Appellation: Monterey County
Alcohol by Volume: 13.6%
TA: 5.5 g/L
Production: 2,425 cases
Serving Temperature: 53-55º F
Optimal Drinkability: Drinkable upon release, 5+ years ageability
Pairs exceptionally well with a range of dishes, not the least being peppered ahi tuna steak. Best served with a slight chill, especially as the weather warms up.
Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare is made from 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Roussanne, 5% Carignane, 5% Cinsaut
This wine is quite emblematic of the great sea change that has occurred at Bonny Doon Vineyard since the sell-off/ draw-down of the Ginormous Doonamath, whereby we have essayed a most sincere effort to make “quieter” wines in a more natural, less manipulated fashion. As such, this Vin Gris is made from bespoke grapes and is not a byproduct of red wine production, per se. We harvested at the appropriate ripeness level for its style. The essential principle here is that less is truly more. The wine does not overwhelm one with fruitybombasticity; it’s charms are seductively subtle. An extremely elegant and complex Vin Gris de Cigare.
The Vin Gris is a return to form from recent vintages, and a true expression of a proper Vin Gris, which is to say a pale pink wine made with the scantest skin contact. As a result, the wine is somewhat lighter and more delicate on the palate with minimal astringency and perhaps more of a floral aspect than doonright fruitiness. The perfume of this wine is subtle, haunting, not vulgar or tawdry, like some of the louche rosés de la nuit. Enfin, this wine is all about elegance and restraint. Rosehips, cassis, fraises de bois, citrus rind, with a wonderfully austere stony finish.
The wine does not overwhelm one with fruity-bombasticity; it’s charms are seductively subtle. An extremely elegant and complex Vin Gris de Cigare.
The Grenache for our Vin Gris came from bespoke sections of the Alta Loma Vineyard, harvested at the appropriate maturity level for this elegant style of wine. About 24% of the wine is composed of traditional white Rhône varieties in substantial part from the Beeswax Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco district of Monterey, adding a surprising richness and foundation. We also employed the practice of postfermentation bâtonnage—the stirring or re-suspension of yeast lees—to give the wine a certain creaminess of texture.
Varietal Blend: 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Roussanne, 5% Carignane, 5% Cinsaut.
Appellation: Central Coast
Vineyards: 41% Alta Loma, 13% Beeswax, 11% Bokisch Ranch, 8% JD Farming, 6% San Miguel, 7% Cass, 5% Gonsalves, 4% Scheid, 3% Wente, 1% Rancho Solo, 1% Ventan
Alcohol by Volume: 13.2%
TA: 4.5 g/L
This wine just begs for oysters or stone crab.
Chateau de Mus Languedoc Red Blend Gold Label is made 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre.
This wine has a nice dark ruby color, with aromas of red fruits and some florals and spicy notes. The tannins are soft and juicy, giving the wine a great richness and complexity.
Chateau de Mus Languedoc Red Blend Gold Label is made from grapes coming from several parcel planted 15 years ago on gravel soil, similar to the terroir found in the Graves' region of Bordeaux.
In order to achieve perfect ripeness, harvest were conducted quite late in the season as the producer is looking for a nice concentration of aromas and sugar. Then, the vinification was traditional, meaning the fermentation was done in concrete tank followed by a long ageing process, during 6-8 months. The Syrah and the Mourvèdre were aged in Oak barrels while the Grenache was aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine is a blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre.
This wine will be a great companion to grilled meat, grilled vegetables and cheese.
Laird Pinot Grigio Cold Creek is made from 100 percent Pinot Grigio.
The Laird Family’s Cold Creek Ranch is a 300 acre vineyard located on the Sonoma side of the Carneros district. The cooling sea breezes off the San Pablo Bay are perfectly suited for Pinot Grigio as well as Chardonnay, two grape varieties that thrive in this special vineyard.
Tasting Notes: The clear yellow sapphire hue sparkles in the sunlight, with inviting aromas of juicy passionfruit, honeysuckle and Juicy Fruit gum. The palate is balanced with medium acid and enticing flavors of melon, apricot, vanilla, and subtle mineralty, leading to a focused, mouthwatering finish.
Vineyard: 100% Cold Creek Ranch
Appellation: Los Carneros (Sonoma)
Matheus Piesporter Gold Riesling Kabinett is made from 100 percent Riesling.
This Goldtröpfchen ranks as an unofficial "Grand Cru" delivering light floral and fresh Kabinett style wines.
Their later harvest wines, Spatlese and Auslese, tend toward apricot flavors, honeyed notes and superb intensity. All grapes are grown on Devonian slate.
Enjoy with slightly spiced sushi or moderately spicy Indian cuisine such as chicken Vindaloo.
Philippe Milan Pommard AOC is 100% Pinot Noir
This wine has been aged in Oak (25% new Oak)
This is a little more structured and the style goes more toward the "vin de garde", or wines meant to age. This wine needs some food, or sometime in the decanter right now. It is well structured and reminds me of a Volnay. As a matter of fact, the parcel is located right next to Volnay. The finish is long and still quite juicy with chewy tannins lingering.
Licenciado Rioja Reserva is made from 100% Tempranillo
This single vineyard wine is always produced from the same vineyard that is also used to make the Gran Reserva wine.
Licenciado shows a ruby red color and outstanding aromas of wild berries, vanilla and spice. The palate is well-balanced, rounded and elegant, and offers black pepper, ripe black fruits and vanilla flavors. Its freshness, oak ageing and high extraction guarantee a longevity of at least 10 years after the year of harvest.
Best enjoyed with red meat and game
"Bodegas Burgo Viejo is the property of six farming families and comprises more than 200ha of vineyards in the Rioja Oriental region, from where the more full-bodied styles of Rioja are produced. Sarah Jane Evans MW: Distinctly pure, vivid reserva, precise style: limpid fruit, brisk acidity, notable but well balanced oak. Classic. Simon Field MW: Intense color, powerful aromas of tar and blue fruit; minty savory, rich, lifted and long; an impressive reserva statement of intent. Pierre Mansour: Classy, spicy black fruit, full, round, generous – depth yet beautifully balanced, very classy, effortless."
- Decanter (Affordable Rioja, March 2020), 95 pts