It should come as no surprise, dear reader, that I like Bonny Doon Vineyard. In an interview this summer I namedropped BDV’s head honcho, Randall Grahm, as someone I really admire in California winemaking.
Le Cigare Volant is the flagship wine from Bonny Doon. A Chateauneuf-du-Pape-style blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre, viognier, cinsault, and carignane, this is the southern Rhone-inspired wine that gave the Rhone Ranger his famous nom de nick.
A few months back, I had the pleasure of meeting Randall at BDV’s Santa Cruz tasting room, and he poured vintage after vintage of this mainstay. I think the 2001 might have been my favorite of all the Volants I tried.
The 2001 Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon is the first recipient of my heretofore-un-awarded Tall, Dark, and Handsome badge. A dark, ruby red at its core, the wine lightens and gets a bit tawny to the edges, but it’s still a bold, dark presence in the glass.
Notes of leather mix with a smoky raspberry aroma on the nose, mingling with plum and other dark fruit. The wine is medium-bodied and exceptionally balanced. Full of lush, fleshy fruit, the wine has a smokiness that is unmistakable and, for those who will enjoy it, intoxicating. And not just intoxicating because it’s alcoholic, smart guy.
This wine has held up beautifully over the last nine years, and feels no where near its peak. It could drink well for another decade, certainly, but it’s incredibly delicious now, and highly recommended. And at about $20-$30 a bottle, it’s a complete steal.