This week included several wines from fairly stalwart producers.
I tasted through a number of releases from Bonny Doon Vineyards, the star of which were his white Rhone blend that is aged in glass "bonbonnes" and the Cigare Volant red Rhone blend that happened to be aged in old oak foudres -- big casks that hold around 3,000 gallons.
Dry Creek Vineyards sent me a library wine of their 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel that was quite pretty at this stage of its evolution, as well as several of their more current releases. I happened to like their less expensive Fumé Blanc version of Sauvignon Blanc better than their standard bottling.
A nice Cabernet from Jordan snuck into the mix, as well as a nice Merlot from Ridge Vineyards.
Look for all these and more below.
2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Blanc en bonbonne Reserve" White Blend, Arroyo Seco, Central Coast
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet stones, bee pollen, and wet stones. In the mouth wonderfully exotic bee pollen, citrus oils, and guava notes meld with a gorgeous underlying minerality and a hint of waxy flavor (and texture). Quite unusual and compelling, with nice balance, and good acidity. 12.4% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $42. click to buy.
2007 Dry Creek Vineyard "Old Vine" Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Dark ruby in color, this wine smells of forest floor, dried berries, and well-oiled leather. In the mouth, licorice, leather, chocolate, and raisins have a wonderful earthy quality to them, and not a hint of sweetness. Thick but pliable tannins wrap the edges of the mouth, while good acidity keeps everything in balance. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.
2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant en foudre" Red Blend, Central Coast
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of dried mixed berries. In the mouth, bright mixed berries, cedar, and forest floor combine amidst a bright acidity that will dimple the edges of the mouth and bring a smile to the lips. Suede-like tannins rim the tongue. A blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 13% Mourvedre, 7% Cinsault, and 5% Carignan aged in large, old oak foudres. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2010 Ridge Vineyards Estate Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright cherry and plum aromas mixed with a hint of the floral. In the mouth juicy, tangy plum and cherry flavors dance across the palate thanks to excellent acidity. Plum skin sourness has the salivary glands working overtime in the long finish, even as earthy, leathery notes rumble a bass note underneath this melody. Lovely. 13.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2012 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
Palest gold in color, this wine smells of lemon curd, vanilla pastry cream, and wet stones. In the mouth lemon zest, pink grapefruit, and citrus pith have a nice zip to them thanks to bright acidity. Good length, with an expansive finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $12. click to buy.
2012 Cartograph "Floodgate Vineyard" Gewürztraminer, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of incredibly ripe, fresh lychee fruit. In the mouth, lychee and pink grapefruit flavors are lithe on the tongue thanks to bright acidity. The wine finishes with a hint of woody bitterness, not unlike the taste of the skin and seed inside a lychee. Nice. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $24. click to buy.
2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Pousseur" Syrah, Central Coast, Central Coast
Light to medium purple in color, this wine smells of blackberry, blueberry skin, and white pepper. In the mouth, white pepper and blackberry flavors mix with a briary, earthy underbelly that heads towards wet chalkboard in quality even as muscular tannins grip the palate. Excellent acidity and a nice floral note linger in the finish.12.8% alcohol Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.
2011 Pfendler Vineyards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of a hint of manure and raspberries. In the mouth, deep and earthy raspberry and wet forest floor flavors mix amidst powdery, velvety tannins. Dark and brooding, and quite distinctive. Good balance and acidity. 13.7% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant en demi-muid" Red Blend, Central Coast
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberry and river mud. In the mouth, flavors of mulberry, dried cherries, and hints of raisin mix with brown sugar notes as the wine finishes. Wet earth and leather emerge, along with leathery tannins in the long finish. Good acidity. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2009 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco with hints of wet earth and nut skin. In the mouth smooth, taut tannins wrap around a core of cherry and tobacco tinged with the earthiness of unsweetened cocoa powder. Excellent acidity and a very nice balance. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2010 Anaba "Sun Chase Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of honeycomb, golden apples, and toasted bread. In the mouth bright and juicy flavors of lemon rind, pink grapefruit, and orange rind mix with some unfortunate alcoholic heat. Good acidity, however, and a nice flavor profile. 14.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $??.
2012 Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of bright lemon pastry cream, a hint of vanilla, and golden apples. In the mouth lemon pastry cream and vanilla are the dominant flavors and a hint of lemon zest creeps into the finish. Decent acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15. click to buy.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting Vinography Images: A Brief Oasis Going Dry In California Off to Taste Champagne! Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 5, 2015 Vinography Images: The Color of Spring Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 29, 2015 Vinography Images: Waves of Vines Tempranillo (and Gang) TAPAS Tasting: April 26, San Francisco A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune