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 found this review sitting in the review draft queue, so I blew some of the dust off and present it to you today like it was 2014 once more. The moment I 'uncorked' this gorgeous bottle of grace, style and suave definition. I've always been fond of this wine over the years, and somehow this bottle was tucked away in the corner of the cellar for safekeeping and further bottle development, or I just forgot about it. A sample bottle, I received long ago, but with all the fame, I'm not sure BD still bothers with likes of wine blogs.

Either way, it was worth a twist of the cap, with many sips, slurps and maybe even the occasional burp oh-my. Fast forward many years later, with the release of the Bonny Doon 2013 Le Cigare Volant, they celebrate the 30th anniversary of this bottling, congratulations. So here below are my thoughts from back then, and are still vividly relevant today, enjoy.

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, located just a bit south of Napa and Sonoma.

While I've only had the opportunity to visit this area once, way back 2007 which was a great trip. Sadly the opportunity to visit Bonny Doon slipped from the itinerary, and I missed seeing the vineyards for myself, but 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.

The average garden-variety vino sapiens get a quizzical look on their face when I talk about the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. If you're the curious sort 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 vast appellation represents 350k acres of prime wine growing real estate.

According to Vinogusto, "It's astonishing, given the hardships [in particular the onset of massive 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 an hour before dinner for its first evaluation, passed with flying colors. In the glass a near opaque garnet colored core, giving way to the cerise colored rim, then brilliant aromas escaping quickly from the glass sporting some brier and underbrush, black cherry and undefinable gamy note

What I found was an exquisite wine, a Rhone Zone blend I received as a sample long ago. A decidedly 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, subtle minerality, licorice and tarry notes. Although listed as a California wine, it's is made in a 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 an excellent 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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