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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wine of the Week: Bonny Doon, 2008 Le Cigare Volant

The New California Wine: "The style pendulum may be swinging back toward restraint over hedonism" ~ John Bonne

I think we all like finding buried treasures, sometimes they're a treat and other times, and well you know where that is going. This wine I discovered in my own wine cellar was definitely on the treat side of the proverbial ledger. I had purchased a huge wine cellar last year and had moved everything from my pantry [all eight cases plus] into the what is a cavernous monstrosity sucking down power like no tomorrow [part of the reason I opted for a solar solution]. 

Getting back to the wine, it's a brilliant Rhone style blend from one California's most iconic producers, the eclectic Bonny Doon Vineyards found in the eye-pleasingly beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains AVA in northern California, found just a bit south of Napa and Sonoma. 

While I've only had the opportunity to visit this area once, way back 2007 [when I was still working full time] sadly my opportunity to visit Bonny Doon slipped from the itinerary and I missed seeing the vineyards for myself [there's always next time]. That said, Mr. Randall Grahm was gracious enough to have sent me a couple samples to peruse at my leisure, coupled with an invitation to visit next time I'm in the area.

Many vinosapiens get a quizzical look on their face when I talk about the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. I'm sure they must be thinking, "uh, where the *bleep* is that" and then most are not even sure what AVA is anyway. It's the kind of  [nearly useless] knowledge that begs the question, "what are you, some kind of cork-dork?" 

If I had to chance to answer, I'd most assuredly answer with an enthusiastic nod of agreement and say, "guilty as charged". It would be so easy to pick me out of a lineup, purple-teeth and purple stained fingers oh-my, depending on the situation and a crazy collection of old corks.

If you're quite bored and feel like busting out a wine-map or you just want to Google it, you'll find the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is located just south of San Jose, California. This huge appellation represents just over 350k acres. According to Vinogusto, "It's astonishing, given the hardships [in particular the onset of huge fires in 2009] of viticulture in the Santa Cruz Mountains, that this appellation hosts some of North America's most elite wineries, with the likes of Ridge, David Bruce and Bonny Doon and I am a big fan of Byington and Testarossa as well.


So now that you have an idea of where I am talking about in regards to where this wine is from, now it's is time to bring into to focus the subject of this review the Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant 2008. Literally translated, "Le Cigare Volant" which is French for "The Flying Cigar" or euphemistically speaking, the flying saucer. Sci-Fi fans take note, this is a first-contact wine! 

I finally cracked open the stelvin closure and poured myself a glass just hour before dinner for its first evaluation, passed with flying colors. In the glass a near opaque garnet colored core, giving way to cerise colored rim, then brilliant aromas escaping easily from the glass sporting some brier and underbrush, black cherry and undefinable gamy note. 

What I found was an extremely elegant wine, a Rhone Zone blend I received as a sample long ago. A very soft pedaled blend with Grenache leading the way light cherry, violets and plum, loads of minerality and soft earth. The tannins as tame as your tabby, and will reward all those willing to give it a swirl for themselves.

On the palate, is an impressive concentration, with chewy plum, currant, nice minerality, licorice and tarry notes. Although listed as a California wine, it's is made in an terroir-driven old world style and does not require any long term cellaring, since it is drinking amazingly now and the finish just sails on and on.

With/without Food: This wine was a great quaff just by itself, a sure crowd-pleaser with an appropriate amount of decanting and just a wonderful wine for pairing with many different food combinations. Keep in mind this can't be said of all wines and is a high compliment to the winemaker and the growers of these grapes, well done! Until next time folks remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!


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