Boony Doon owner and winemaker Randall Grahm continues his delightful quest toward winemaking with less intervention and more biodynamic methods used in the vineyard and in the winery.
He is also probably the world’s greatest advocate for full disclosure, as his back labels will tell you everything about what’s in the wines and how it got there. (Maybe next, he’ll make the paper transparent as well.) If there is a change in how Grahm’s wines taste, these days they tend to be more savory and less fruit-forward, with sometimes a little lack of definition in the mid-palate.
All that said, I always look forward to getting a shipment of Bonny Doon.
2011 Bonny Doon Central Coast albarino ($18). Delightful, piquant lime and green-herb flavors, very fresh and lively with good acidity. Would pair well with green-vegetable casseroles, such as green bean or asparagus.
2007 Bonny Doon "Ca’ de Solo" Monterey County nebbiolo ($30). A certified biodynamic wine, this nebby is lean and concentrated with good, tangy raspberry and blackberry intensity. It is quite nice with mild tannins, and would go well with charcuterie.
2008 Bonny Doon Central Coast "La Cigare Volante" (34). A mixture of one-third grenache and the rest syarh, mourvedre, cinsault, and carignan, the wine is smoky, earthy with dark fruits and moderate tannins. Some bricky notes. Serve with a cassoulet with pork.
2008 Bonny Doon "La Cigare Volante" Reserve (65). The same grapes as the regular Cigare but with more grenache. It’s a beautiful wine with ripe, piquant berry aromas and flavors — very lean with notes of bacon and lingonberries and lots of acidity. With roasted wild game.
2008 Bonny Doon "Alamo Creek" San Luis Obispo syrah ($35). Good juiciness, riding the border between being lean and fat. Some carbon notes. A nice wine, but far from an impressive one. For the alcohol (13.5 percent), I would have expected more mouth feel and a greater palate presence. Could go well if you’re on a tapas crawl.
2008 Bonny Doon "Bien Nacido" Santa Maria Valley syrah ($40). Juicy and a little tangy, somewhat light with good acidity. Would go well with rabbit or other small game.
2009 Bonny Doon "Le Posseur" Central Coast syrah ($15). If you remember the Alamo Creek, many of the same flavor notes, except with a greater intensity of lovely dark raspberries that syrah can give. That said, it tastes muted, like the whole package isn’t truly a wine in full. Again, more tapas, if you’re still crawling.
2010 Bonny Doon "Contra" California Old Vines Blend ($13). Full, rich, ripe, plummy fruit forward, with some dark cherries and mulberries. Smooth and velvety. It’s even better the second day.