Home Posts tagged 'Bonny Doon'

Posts Tagged ‘Bonny Doon’

Matt R.

September Winery of the Month: Bonny Doon Vineyards

GrahamVinous Renaissance man Randall Grahm has been on the vanguard of California winemaking ever since he founded Bonny Doon Vineyards in 1981 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A founding member of the Rhône Rangers, a group of winemakers dedicated to expanding Californians’ palates in the direction of Southern France, he made his own reputation with the release of Le Cigare Volant in 1986, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Unfortunately, his original planting of vines in Bonny Doon succumbed to a rare and fatal vine ailment called Pierce’s Disease, but this did not deter him. Fast-forward 25 or so years; he is now one of the elder statesmen of forward-wine-thinkers, but his craft is still ceaselessly experimental, wide-eyed even in the face of the possibilities of California winemaking.

The wines that we are featuring this month carry on the goals of the original Rhône Rangers, but bring them into the 21st century. Randall now quests far and wide for his fruit, sourcing from such diverse places as Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Monterey, and Santa Cruz, looking for the best fruit and for wines of diverse and complementary flavors in order to craft blends of complexity and finesse. Also, while making some of the tastiest premium wines in California, he continues to craft great everyday drinking table wine that will pair with just about anything. So come on in and check out the selection. You’ve haven’t Been Doon until you’ve Been Doon.


BD12008 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant  –  $29.99
This is Randall’s flagship wine, now in its 25th iteration. The name references a 1954 law passed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape banning the passage of UFOs over the village for fear of the damage they might inflict on its fabled wines. Although it’s suspect whether the village’s jurisdiction extends to interplanetary travelers, there is no doubt that this New World blend achieves the balance of fruit, earth, spice, and chewy ripe tannin to call itself an homage, however alien. It’s full of rich notes of mulberry, woods, black raspberry, and loamy earth.


2012 Bonny Doon Contra  –  $14.99
BD2If the Cigare Volant is the raised pinkie of Grahm’s collection, Contra is the middle finger. Composed of the thoroughly unknown Carignane from a crotchety 100 year old vineyard in Contra Costa County (not wine country) blended with Mourvedre and some bits and bobs of other varietals, it is a wine meant to be savored for its simplicity, straightforwardness, and utter drinkability. No snobs allowed. It has bright aromas of cherries, licorice, baking spices, and cassis.


2012 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare –  $15.99
This is Randall’s classic Provençal-style Vin Gris. This lovely light pink/grey rosé is made using grapes specifically harvested for making rosé rather than as a by-product of red-wine making (the way that most CA rosé comes about). That means that it has brighter acidity, zestier fruit flavors, and a more delicate texture than most. Enjoy with a hunk of Brillat-Savarin on all of those warm late-Summer nights that are surely on their way!


Upcoming Tastings:


18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In.


Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, September 20, 6-8PM, Drop-In and Ticketed


Harvest Beer & Food Pairing Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Wednesday, October 16, 6:30-9:30PM, Ticketed