Grape Variety: 62% Grenache Blanc & 38% Roussanne
Appellation: Arroyo Seco
Cellar Potential: 2-5 Years Ageability
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc 2011
Pale gold with green-gold highlights, the grenache blanc dominant blend has a somewhat different aromatic profile from the 2010 vintage. A very strong impression of melon, along with Asian pear, pineapple and grapefruit pith, and in the mouth, very rich, sporting a certain modicum of tannin; this bodes exceptionally well for great longevity. The wine’s unique flavors will pair exceptionally well with hard cheeses, seafood (lobster especially), roasted poultry, and savory vegetarian strudels or gratins. Paired with sushi served with freshly grated wasabi will also be a profound revelation.
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