Bonny Doon Vineyard is one of my favorite wineries in California. And since most of my favorite wineries are in California, that makes this one of the tip top in the world for this humble quaffer.
The flagship wine of Bonny Doon is, and has always been, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape-style blend Le Cigare Volant, and while the blend of Rhone Valley grape varieties changes based on the will of the growing season and the quality of the vintage, one element of the winemaking process never does: the standard Volant barrel-aging process involves some proportion of puncheons (about twice the size of a “normal” oak wine barrel) and large upright wood tanks.
Because Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm is a cheeky bugger, and because the members of Bonny Doon’s offbeat DEWN wine club demand the exotic, the winery has been reserving some of the wine from the puncheons, and some from the uprights, before blending the final wine, for release on their own. The en demi-muid is one of these two special releases.
This one is the puncheons, described as:
500 and 600 liter barrels (this is a little more than twice the size of a conventional barrel).
So this ought to be the more “normative” version of Le Cigare Volant, then, yes? Closer to the “standard” process of using regular barrels and not BOUSs? Perhaps.
I’m not really in a position to tell you what this wine isn’t, nor am I particularly interested in comparing it to the more common version of this wine. I’m like Chili Palmer. I’m the guy who’s telling you the way it is.
Like the other 2008 Le Cigare Volant releases, the en demi-muid features 45% grenache, 30% syrah, 13% mourvedre, 7% cinsault, and 5% carignane, culled from Bonny Doon’s vineyards across the Central Coast: from San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria Valley, Paso Robles, and Contra Costa.
In the glass, the ‘08 LCV en d-m—that is NOT easy to shorthand!—shows off very pretty scarlet edges and a more purple, perhaps very dark ruby, core.
On the nose, the wine smells of red cherry, herbs, and leather. I even think I may have noticed a bit of lavender in there. The nose is inviting and bright, in general.
On the palate, the 2008 Le Cigare Volant en demi-muid doesn’t quite live up to my expectations of LCV. And I’m not surprised, given the cellaring style on display here. But it’s still a very good wine!
It’s light bodied, with a medium finish. Elements of minerality mingle with dark stone fruits, like black cherry and plum. It drinks very well right now, though by its very nature, I have to assume it will age well over at least the next decade.
I’d suggest drinking now through 2022.
Price Point: $45