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.
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc is made from 54% Grenache Blanc, 46% Vermentino.
Le Cigare Blanc is the white analog of Le Cigare Volant, Bonny Doon's flagship wine, named in honor of the cigarshaped alien craft banned by decree of the village council of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A blend of 54% Grenache Blanc and 46% Vermentino, this wine is a study in pome fruit and citrus —Asian pear, green apple, with more than mere suggestions of lime blossom and citrus rind.
They 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 solar-powered light-sail, sent on a reconnaissance mission to, well, check us out. But, withal, 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.
Pale, slightly lime-green color with great freshness and a rather bracing acidity and a strong element of “minerality.” Despite its Central Coastal California provenance, the wine really does strongly signify some Mediterranean antecedents - a suggestion of herbal underbrush, sunny, coastal, salt-kissed citrus. The crisp acidity of the wine along with the lemon/lime element, makes it the perfect refreshing accompaniment to any dish that itself would benefit from a slight spritz of citrus. Le Cigare Blanc remains a great vin de gastronomie, pairing well with lighter seafood, as well as serving as an exemplary apéritif.
The perfect refreshing accompaniment to any dish that itself would benefit from a slight spritz of citrus. Le Cigare Blanc remains a great vin de gastronomie, pairing well with lighter seafood, as well as serving as an exemplary apéritif.
Prawns à la plancha, oysters, crab cakes, stuffed piquillo peppers, day boat scallops persillade, brandade de morue, sole meunière.
"Very light in the glass, this blend of 46% Grenache Blanc, 34% Vermentino and 20% Clairette Blanche offers honeydew, lime pith, wet gravel and a hint of lanolin on the nose. The palate is full of flavors, offering sliced pear and lime peel set upon a delicate texture. - MATT KETTMANN"
- Wine Enthusiast (October 2020), 90 pts
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 Picpoul is made from 100% Picpoul Blanc.
This Picpoul is from the Beeswax vineyard. Picpoul or "lip-stinger" is known, of course for its tingling acidity, but coupled with its singular savoriness, it creates a dramatic sensation on the palate.
The nose of this Picpoul is maritime, coupled with a discreet suggestion of peaches, wildflowers and the ubiquitous fragrance of beeswax.
This wine is utterly brilliant with the briniest oysters or Dungeness crab. Other ideas include grilled octopus with lemon, Moussaka, sardines a la plancha, grilled sardines with friseÌe & whole-grain mustard dressing.
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.
Lima Vinho Verde Rose is made from 75% Souzao, 15% Borraçal and 10% Espadeiro.
It is a blend of 75% Souzao (same as Vinhao), 15% Borraçal (which is also known as Caino Tinto) and 10% Espadeiro:
Souzão (or Sousão or Vinhão) is a Portuguese wine grape that is used in the production of port wine. While originating in the Minho regions, it is used primarily in Australia, California and South Africa. In Portugal, it is also an authorized planting in the Douro, and Dão-Lafões area (Vinho do Dão). The grape is known for the deep color it produces in a wine as well as its coarse and raisiny taste.
Caiño tinto (also known as Borraçal) is a red Galician wine grape variety that is also grown in Portugal's Vinho Verde wine region where it is known as Borraçal. In Spain, it is a permitted variety in the Denominación de Origens (DOs) of Rías Baixas and Ribeiro where it produces highly perfumed wines with noticeable tartness and high acidity.
Espadeiro is a red Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Minho region for making Vinho Verde. It is also grown across the border, in Spain, in Galicia where it is used to make light bodied wines.
Castelmaure Corbieres Vin-Gris (Rose) is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Cinsault.
Pale pink rose color, a classic gris de gris wine with salmon hues. Delicate strawberry nose, seamless and fine pointed.
Light pink-hued, the 2018 Vin Gris Rose from the Corbières has a juicy, fruity bouquet of ripe strawberries, violets, and white peach to go with a clean, balanced, deliciously gulpable style on the palate. It’s well done and I suspect a good value."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2020), 90 pts
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.
Zanon Pinot Noir Russian River is made from 100% Pinot Noir.
Zanon Pinot Noir is a classic example of a stylish wine made from the cooler-climate region of the famed Russian River Valley. The wine exudes typical vibrant black cherry aromas along with a dash of allspice in an elegant fashion. A silky layered texture is framed by lovely acidity and lower tannic structure. Enjoy this wine in its youth.
Five separate Pinot Noir vineyards contributed to this wine from the famed and beautiful Russian River Valley AVA. Cool evening fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean help to develop full flavors and preserve its vibrancy, natural acidity, and pureness.
Pairs with salmon, tuna, pork, mild sausages, turkey, duck, and lamb.