Bonny Doon A Proper Claret 2014
Under the law of Hong Kong, intoxicating liquor must not be sold or supplied to a minor in the course of business.
So, with these caveats, the sentiment at Bonny Doon Vineyard is that if we ever were to drink a cabernet-based blend, this would be one that would serve quite well. It is lean, neither overly alcoholic (weighing in at 13.2%) nor overly extracted, nor overly oakèd; it is precisely what one would imagine A Proper Claret to be. The wine contains a substantial dollop of petit verdot (22%), adding a silky note of violets and textural elegance, in counterpoint to the lead-in-the-pencil firmness offered by the inclusion of the virile tannat (22%). Tannat, the grape implicated in the French paradox (and the vinifera variety with resveratrol levels that are off the charts), is principally grown in Gascony (land of Les Trois Mousquetaires), though it was historically grown as well in Bordeaux as late as the 19th century. Comparing this wine with the 2013 APC, the second vintage, the ’14 version is a bit plusher and posher, with softer tannins, not unreminiscent of the overstuffed chair at one’s Club. There is still a lovely minty, cedary aspect to this wine, reflective of its perfect balance, with nary a prunish note to be found.
Pair with Proper (British) mutton, proper leg of lamb, (ideally served with proper Yorkshire pudding).
Gold - Critics Challenge 2016
While Bonny Doon Vineyard began with the (in retrospect) foolish attempt to replicate Burgundy in California, Randall Grahm realized early on that he would have far more success creating more distinctive and original wines working with Rhône varieties in the Central Coast of California. The key learning here (achieved somewhat accidentally but fortuitously) was that in a warm, Mediterranean climate, it is usually blended wines that are most successful. In 1986 Bonny Doon Vineyard released the inaugural vintage (1984) of Le Cigare Volant, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this continues as the winery’s flagship/starship brand.
Since then, Bonny Doon Vineyard has enjoyed a long history of innovation – the first to truly popularize Rhône grapes in California, to successfully work with cryo-extraction for sundry “Vins de Glacière, the first to utilize microbullage in California, the first to popularize screwcaps for premium wines, and, quite significantly, the first to embrace true transparency in labeling with its ingredient labeling initiative. The upside of all of this activity has brought an extraordinary amount of creativity and research to the California wine scene; the doon-side, as it were, was perhaps an ever so slight inability to focus, to settle doon, if you will, into a single, coherent direction.1
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