Browse Tag


And Clyde

[bottle]Bonny Doon 2006 “Le Cigare Blanc” (California) – 75% grenache blanc, 35% roussanne, from vineyards in Arroyo Seco. Stone fruit, sand, and spice…then intense apricot and blood orange with slightly less spice…then slight vegetation as the wine winds down. This sort of phase-shifting isn’t, I find, unusual with Rhônish whites that aren’t pushed to (or past) the limits of ripeness. All that said, the most appealing element of the wine is actually its gravelly texture. There’s enough acidity for balance, and great persistence, but I think this wine is not everything it could strive to be. (9/08)

Bonny Doon 2006 “Le Cigare Blanc” (California) – Honeydew melon, pear, spice, and tan earth rumbled with gravel. Warmth does not help the wine, though air seems to, so I’d suggest decanting and then the fridge. (9/08)


Bonny Doon “Ca’ del Solo” 2005 Sangiovese (San Benito County) – There are dollops of nero d’avola, cinsault, and colorino here. What do they add? I’m not sure. An intense nose of mixed jellies – plum, blueberry, blackberry – fades to simpler multi-hued cherries by the finish, there’s a tannic bite that grates with underripeness as the wine lingers, and a fairly significant amount of acidity adds to what eventually becomes a general and growing sensation of off-putting weediness. Eh. (9/08)

Have a Cigare

[bottle]Bonny Doon 2006 “Vin Gris de Cigare” (California) – A pinkish blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah, grenache blanc, and roussanne. Dried grapefruit and other citrus rinds, with some of them in candied form. Lavender, as well. Good weight and balance. Long. The wine turns more rind-dominated on the finish, but this is only to its benefit. Elegant and quite tasty. (9/08)

Nacido bite

Bonny Doon 2005 Syrah Bien Nacido (Santa Maria Valley) – Soulful. A beautiful nose (a sequel to the tedious Russell Crowe flick) of blackberry and leather, plus mint, promises much. The texture is plush, but without sacrificing a pleasantly herbal earthiness not usually found amidst this level of luxuriance. Balanced and very structured, with the clear intention of and potential for ageability. If there’s a flaw, it’s a touch of stretch and green to the tannin, which is worth keeping an eye on as the wine matures. (9/08)

Orange you glad?

Bonny Doon “Ca’ del Solo” 2007 Orange Muscat (Monterey County) – Less than 1% residual sugar despite all organoleptic evidence to the contrary, which actually isn’t all that unusual for muscat. Orange peel perfume and medium-sweet fruit make this overwhelmingly approachable, but the wine’s fatness is only broken by acidity late into its finish. Some crystals – which they just love at Bonny Doon – are perhaps present as a sort of foundation. This could be better. (9/08)

Doux date

Bonny Doon 2005 Viognier Doux (Paso Robles) – 12.2% alcohol, 12.8 grams residual sugar, 500 ml bottle. All the aromatics here are in the honey genre. While big, the wine’s got an extremely appealing silken texture with a little edge of bitterness on the finish. There’s little more to it, but it hardly seems to matter. Pure fun. (9/08)

Coverting to Robles

[vineyard]Tablas Creek 2005 Rosé (Paso Robles) – While this may be drawing the curtains a little bit, the show that’s still visible is quite entertaining. There’s a bunch of different explorations of the concept of orange (including the blood variety), then a pale red-berry rush of fruit, and later an autumnal sunset viewed through a rippling window from the comfort of a soft, fraying easy chair. It’s still hefty for a rosé, but the virtues of its twilight are now readily apparent. (2/09)

Martian fonts

Font-Mars 2007 Picpoul de Pinet (Languedoc) – Juicy greenish-yellow fruit, intense and insistent but not sharp. Some leaves and twigs complete the picture. A guzzler. (2/09)

Dog days

[vineyard]Dog Point 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Sophisticated and polished. There’s minerality here under a blizzard-textured storm of pale fruit, edged by green yet more richly-hued at the core. Recognizably sauvignon, perhaps even recognizably Marlborough, but atypical in the best sort of way. (2/09)

Flightless wine

EMB “Kiwi Cuvée” 2006 Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France Sauvignon Blanc (Loire) – Soft-tart green apple. Clean and simple. But the name is an abomination, and all involved should be profoundly ashamed of themselves. The French – rightly – have a hair-trigger reaction when it comes to protecting their appellations, brands, trademarks, and patrimonial nomenclature. The existence and tolerance of this wine is thus the rankest hypocrisy. (2/09)