2015 Bonny Doon Vineyard, Cigare Alternative “E” Rhone Red Blend, Central Coast.
Randall Grahm’s delicious and unique Alt-Cigare is an almost Bandol like blend of 77% Mourvedre from Del Barba (Ranch) Vineyard, an old vine site planted in 1910 on Contra Costa sandy soils, 16% Grenache from Alta Loma and Rancho Solo Vineyards, 5% Cinsault from Bechtold Vineyard as well as 2% of Coastview Vineyard Syrah, it’s generous and pure wine that delivers a wonderful pleasing drinking performance. Gracefully balanced, nicely ripe, but restrained in alcohol Bonny Doon’s Cigare Alternative “E” red blend at 13.3% gives layers of raspberry/boysenberry, black cherry, plum and brightly tangy currant fruits as well as mineral tones, delicate pepper and spicy notes. Very little if any oak is presented on the medium bodied palate, which adds to this wines purity of form, while still being opulent and roundly open in it’s textural mouth feel. Though less earthy or leathery than it’s French cousins in the Rhone or Provence, this wine still has easy reminders of southern France and it’s a youthful expression at this stage that should gain complexity over the next 3 to 5 years in bottle. It’s almost impossible not to love all of the latest releases from Bonny Doon Vineyard, and while many are intended for his wine club, many (like this one) are available at their tasting room in Davenport, making a visit there an absolute must if you are in the Santa Cruz area. This Mourvedre based red is a really fun wine that offers a very good return on the money, it’s not as deep or as intriguing as the top Le Cigare bottlings, but certainly it’s a lovely, forward and transparent wine that’s even more tasty with cuisine.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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