2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard, Vin Gris de Cigare, California.
The beautifully pale 2018 Dry Rosé by Bonny Doon, the Vin Gris de Cigare is a fabulous Summer wine with wonderful tension, detail and stylish texture, it is much more serious than its price would suggest, highlighting the thought and care behind the making of it and the stellar vintage. Randall Grahm’s pink wines are some of the best wines you can find anywhere and this vintage and version is damn near perfect and drinks with precision and pleasure crafted from a unique selection of grapes that includes a final cepage of 38.5% Grenache, 30.5% Grenache Blanc, 12.5% Carignane, 10% Cinsaut 6% Mourvèdre, 2% Picpoul and 0.5% Vermentino! Grahm used a variety of vineyards to achieve the success and distinct profile found here, with mostly Monterey County in the Arroyo Seco AVA, plus Contra Costa for the Carignane as well as the central valley, where he got the older vine Cinsault. This combination allows for great intensity of flavors, and while a touch riper than most years it retains good acidity and has impeccable balance, this is a Rosé that really rivals the best of the French, that provided the inspiration. Randall employed a cold fermentation and raised the red grapes after a few hours of skin contact and intriguingly he lees aged the Vin Gris de Cigare and even used bâtonnage, the stirring of the dead yeast cells and sediment (lees), to add textural creaminess.
While, mostly know for his Cigare Volant, his signature Chateauneuf du Pape Rhone Red Blend, Randall does an exquisite and varied range of wines, including examples of sparkling wines all the way to sweet things and with lots of stuff in between, this this lovely Vin Gris.
There is a lot going on here on the fine palate with a superb array of layering in this 2018 Vin de Gris, it delivers a masterful performance and it’s a wine that is easy to love, and it is highly quaffable, but it is also a wine that has depth and complexity. The flavors are a mix of bright and warm fruits, showing sour cherry, pink citrus, red peach, watermelon, squeezed currant and strawberry along with touches of spice, liquid mineral, stones and rosewater. The wine opens with air, it gains mouth filling viscosity, but stays crisp, saliva inducing and stony, again there is a well judged play between weighty sensations and zesty vigor and vitality. I have been thrilled with the latest wines by Grahm and his team at Bonny Doon, especially his whites, which are largely unknown, except by his rabid fans, savvy wine drinkers should search them out, especially his Le Cigare Blanc Réserve “en bonbonne” (Grenache Blanc/Roussanne) that is outrageously good, one of California’s best Rhone style whites, but don’t miss Bonny Doon’s Picpoul either. There is some exciting new wines coming from Bonny Doon and a visit to their tasting room, in Davenport, California, just north of Santa Cruz, should be on list of things you need to do this Summer. In the meantime, grab a bunch of the 2018 Vin Gris, it is a perfect warm day and sunset wine that plays well with food, pairing well with lots of cuisine choices and holds up to spicy dishes as well as picnic fare, enjoy now, though it actually has structure to aged for a few years.
($18 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive