Bonny Doon Vineyard caught my attention the moment I first set eyes upon "A Proper Claret". The art was eye-catching and thought-provoking, the wine was phenomenal, but their story was truly captivating. I have spent weeks researching and reading about their great history, the winemaker's methodologies, and their core values that set them apart from other vineyards. Through my experience with Bonny Doon, I have only brushed my fingertips a top of something monumental. Welcome to my take on Bonny Doon Vineyard.
For my journey with Bonny Doon Vineyard I chose to immerse myself into the "Pink wine of the earth", their 2016 Vin Gris De Cigare.
“Pink Wine of the Earth” a unique blend ( 49% Grenache, 19% Grenache Blanc, 13% Mourvèdre, 12% Carignane, 4% Cinsaut, 3% Roussanne) concocted by the original Rhone Ranger and industry pioneer, Randall Graham. To understand the beauty and complexity of the 2016 Vin Gris De Cigare you must dive deeper into the mind of its creator and understand the history and core principles of Bonny Doon Vineyard. Without their story, you cannot fully taste the fruits of their land.
Bonny Doon Vineyards
Bonny Doon was conceived by Randal Graham during his early days of attempting to replicate Burgundy style Rhones in central coast California. This endeavor did not succeed, but when one door closes another will surely open, and with this new door swung off its hinges he created a movement, a wine revolution.
Present day Bonny Doon Vineyards has achieved many firsts and continues to restructure and reshape the way wine comes to be. From the introduction to screw caps to using Biodynamics practices, harnessing the powers of the sun and moon to create wines that unlock secrets of unachievable vibrancy. It is only fitting that the Vin Gris de Cigare's label and name are inspired by a 1954 visit from extraterrestrials.
The science and extensive power behind leveraging biodynamics during the agricultural process are far more complicated and robust to accurately define during this review.
However, in short, the practice strives to create a balance of purity and impurity between man and earth. It is about harnessing the universe and aligning the growing season to the astronomical calendar and unseen rhythmic pulses of the earth. The earth is no longer viewed as a vineyard or a vine but an entire ecosystem of life, death, rotation, and evolution; where plant, earth, animal, and universe co-conspire to live in perfect harmony.
"A Biodynamic grower is linked to his farm in a much more intimate way. One learns how to cultivate ones intuition and powers of observation, to be able to see one’s farm with fresh eyes, and to feel the great power of Nature at ones back, rather than as a formidable adversary."
2016 Vin Gris De Cigare
At first glance, you will be drawn to bottle for it's creative and outwardly obvious tribute to ufos
and alien invasions. The art, created by artist Chuck House, plays tribute to the 1954 story of Marius Dewilde who spotted a cigar-shaped alien craft landing on his property. An event that triggered such an uproar in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France the mayor passed a law to protect their precious vines. You will also notice another reference as an alien face stares directly into your eyes from the top of the bottle.
Visually the wine calms your presence with a pink hue that sparkles like an ocean's sunset. The ambiance dances from the bottle with soothing tinges of peach and an array of faint oranges. The sunlight shines in adoration as it cradles the bottle in its arms like a birthed young.
Sweet smells of pure air and hints of salt whisk me off on coastal adventures. The faintest memory of beach air and seashells swirls my nostrils and brings a smile to my face. All sense provoked and invigorated. Drops of watermelon and cherry and childhood summers keep me motivated to continue my journey through this wine. Honesty, integrity and earthly perfection.
The wine tastes deeply and ethically, the care and attention to the farm and grapes reach through to your final sip. The wine is nicely balanced and perfectly rounded. There are no overpowering flavors and your palate will remain pleased and poised. Dim hints of citrus tapped into my senses with fresh morning grapefruits. Dabs of plum flavors and a minimal tang or marmalade. The overall flavors are perfectly paired with each other. The wine is fluid and tranquil. It is calming and sensual. An experience in itself.