Bonny Doon Vineyard began with an attempt to replicate Burgundy in California. Randall Grahm realized early on that he would have far more success working with Rhône varieties in the Central Coast of California. In 1986 Bonny Doon Vineyard released the inaugural vintage of Le Cigare Volant, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this continues as the winery’s flagship/starship brand. Over the years Bonny Doon became best known for their mass produced Big House Red, Cardinal Zin and Pacific Rim Riesling. Randall later decided that he wanted to focus on making unique, distinct, soulful wines and sold off these larger brands.
I recently had the opportunity to sample some new rosé wines from Bonny Doon.
2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris Tuile – Light orange in color. 13% ABV. 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre, 10% Roussanne, 7% Cinsault, 3% Carignane and 2% Grenache Blanc. Peculiar nose of sherry, walnut and citrus. Creamy on the palate. Light body with a touch of acidity. Flavors of sherry, dried apricots, and blood orange. More of an aperitif than a traditional rosé. Unique but certainly not for everybody. Drink this Summer. $26 at the winery. My rating: 88 points.
2015 Bonny Doon “A Proper Pink” – Dark pink in color. 13% ABV. 69% Tannat and 31% Cabernet Franc. Citrus, watermelon and sour patch gummies on the nose. Medium body with bright acidity. Pink grapefruit, green apple and cherries on the palate. Just a touch to much sweetness on the finish. Drink on a scorching hot Summer day. $13 at the winery. My rating: 87 points.
2015 Bonny Doon Cigliegiolo Rosato – Light ruby red in color. 12.4% ABV. Ciliegiolo is related to Sangiovese and the grapes for this wine are from Mt. Oso Vineyards in the Tracy Hills. Super nose of fresh cherries and cranberries. Medium to full body with juicy acidity. Watermelon, cherries and minerals on the palate. The fruit is crisp and refreshing. Really delicious. $24 at the winery. My rating: 90 points.
2015 Bonny Doon Vin Gris De Cigare – Salmon in color. 13.5% ABV. 44% Grenache, 20% Grenache Blanc, 13% Carignane, 10% Mourvedre, 7% Cinsault and 6% Roussanne. Red fruits and citrus on the nose. Medium body with medium acidity. Strawberry, cherry and watermelon the palate. This is a rosé for a red wine drinker and without question my favorite in the lineup. Nicely done. Drink over the next 1-2 years. $18 at the winery. My rating: 91 points.
Without exception this was a fun set of wines. Well crafted and fairly priced. As an aside the wines are also attractively packaged and each bottle was under screw cap. Tasting these wines has truly opened my eyes to the passion that Randall Graham is pouring into Bonny Doon. I would advise you to shop accordingly.
Samples provided by the winery.
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