2014 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Blanc Reserve, Beeswax Vineyard, Arroyo Seco.
Like chasing windmills, Randall Grahm has for years tried to bring white Rhone varietals to greater attention, and while the mainstream hasn’t brought Roussanne, Marsanne or Grenache Blanc to it’s bosom, his Le Cigare Blanc, about 60% Grenache Blanc & 40% Roussanne, is one of California’s great white wines, and especially this latest Reserve version from the 2014 vintage which absolutely rocks and is mind blowingly sexy! The 2014 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Reserve, made from organic Grenache Blanc and Roussanne is a unique and deep wine with fascinating layers that takes time to unwind and seduces in slow delicacy with beautiful and earthy charm showing white flowers, leesy richness, tree picked white stone fruits, a touch of tropical essence, earthy cheesy notes, snappy spices and almond butter. This gorgeous and lively wine has wondrous and magical detail with heavenly mouth feel, this wine has serious palate expression, just be sure it isn’t too cool (in the glass) and that you give it time to open, 20 minutes after being open it takes on an amazing inner perfume and depth revealing white violet, wet stones, lemon/lime and apricot along with a hint of peppery herbs and liquid mineral. The texture gains too with air, but stays lithe with a touch of Roussanne oily density which makes your eyes roll back in your head without being flabby, it’s lifted with a tangerine brightness, this is otherworldly good. Grahm employs extended lees elevage in carboys, glass vessels, that gets a bit of stirring during the extra aging of this wine, adding a fullness and complexity that put this wine in a class of it’s own, more than a decade ago I took notice of Tablas Creek’s Esprit Blanc and said this was the future of great California whites, well that may have falling on def ears, but certainly whether or not anyone is listening this 2014 Le Cigare Blanc Reserve is without question one of the best wines of the year! A recent visit to Area 51, I mean Davenport, just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, proved an eye opening experience, not just for UFO’s and piloting flying saucers, I tasted many unique wines at Bonny Doon’s fun and unpretentious tasting room, these included one of my personal favs, Grahm’s Picpoul, as well as a brilliant vintage 2009 X-Block Syrah, a earthy old world style Carignane & Mourvedre blend called Cunning and the thrilling Enz Vineyard dry farmed Pinot Noir, plus a fantastic late harvest Grenache Blanc known as Vinferno, you need to make this pilgrimage too, and do not miss Randall’s Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc like Le Cigare Blanc Reserve, it’s a stunning effort that will age gracefully for a decade.
($54 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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