A 90 Point Claret from the whimsical winemaker, Randall Grahm! The label alone is worth the purchase.
Wine Enthusiast - 91 Points
Region: California, USA
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: Blend- 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petit Verdot, 22% Tannat, 9% Syrah, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Sirah
Size: 750 mL
Based in Santa Cruz, heartland of New Age thinking, dreaming and deferred transition to “adulthood,” Bonny Doon Vineyard has a not so surprising history of idealism and innovation. Founded in the bucolic hamlet of Bonny Doon in 1983 by Randall Grahm (Vintner's Hallf of Fame Inductee), Bonny Doon Vineyard is known for its strikingly original wines made from lesser-known (though no less “noble”) grape varieties, the so-called vinous Ugly Ducklings. Bonny Doon Vineyard made its mark on the world of wine with pioneering work in the exploration of Rhône varieties, innovative production techniques, and very imaginative marketing that has, truth be told, sometimes been too clever by half.
Since the adoption of biodynamic farming practices in 2004 and in 2006, the radical slimming down of both product portfolio and overall case production (with a concomitant greater degree of focus and attention to detail), the wines of Bonny Doon Vineyard have evinced a more complex expression of varietal character, a more noticeable sense of organization and a greater degree of life-force.
It is lean, neither overly alcoholic (weighing in at 13%) nor overly extracted, nor overly oakèd; it is precisely what one would imagine A Proper Claret to be. The wine contains a substantial dollop of petit verdot (13%), adding a silky note of violets and textural elegance, in counterpoint to the lead-in-the-pencil firmness offered by the inclusion of the virile tannat (15%). Tannat, the grape implicated in the French paradox (and the vinifera variety with resveratrol levels that are off the charts), is principally grown in Gascony (land of Les Trois Mousquetaires), though it was historically grown as well in Bordeaux as late as the 19th century.