Bonny Doon Vineyards Le Cigare Volant Reserve Bonbonne Santa Cruz 2010

le-cigare-volantOne of my favorite wines from the incomparable Randall Grahm.  Aromas of fresh red and blue berries with a riveting mineral undercurrent that seems to ebb and flow in waves, exchange dominance with balsamic, salami and so many earth notes its like rummaging through an attic where the smell of  old books and dust, mingle with freshly turned earth and a little barnyard wafting through an open window. With time in the glass brown sugar makes an appearance too. This is still relatively young but the nose is already developing the character of a wise man.

With all that age-induced patina on the nose you would expect an advanced palate starting to wear thin, but not so. It’s bright and and ebullient with juicy berry fruit up front and a silky texture that gives way way to a severe, almost citrus like thrust from high acidity at midpalate, before eventually resolving into an aura of relaxed charm as the tannins coat the palate with a fine powdery sheen. And then to complete this tasty journey the finish arrives clean and fresh like spice-spiked spring water. Good length that satisfies all the way.

There is paradox upon paradox here where fresh plays with developed and severity haunts silkiness—the Escher print of the wine world.

Some wines leave you with a single overall impression. This one leaves you with a prismatic explosion of colors held together with nervous energy and bursting with personality. It will keep developing; no need to drink now unless like me you can’t resist.

The blend is: 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 17% Cinsault, 17% Mourvedre, 16% Carignane

There has to be something different about this wine. It is Bonny Doon after all. And indeed, after some time in the barrel the wine was aged in 5-gallon glass carboys (bonbonne) sur lie for 20 months, which provides an anaerobic environment (and lots of labor for the winery staff). So much for the theory you need oxygen to age a wine.

You may never taste a another wine like this. Pick up any vintage. It’s all good.

Quirky, creative, multifarious and throbbing with taut energy like Radiohead’s Lotus Flower

Score: 94

Price: $50

Alc: 13.3%

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