56% carignane, 17% syrah, 15% grenache, 11% mourvèdre, 1% cinsault
Contra Costa County
69% Gonsalves, 25% Alamo Creek, 6% Bien Nacido
90 points - Wine Review Online
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$18.00 per bottle / $194.40 per case
$15.30 per bottle / $172.80 per case (Members)
Watch the Video: Randall Grahm on the 2009 Contra
Carignane does not produce a wine that you would serve the queen, whom, we trust has minimal interest in #countrymatters. There is just an unregenerate degree of rusticity to this wine (coupled mercifully with a fragrant, perfumed sweetness), a sort of earthiness, sweatiness, the hayride of one’s early to mid-adolescence, undertaken with the blossoming figure of one’s febrile fantasy. Ahem. These carignane vines are old, with roots that descend eighty or ninety feet into the water table, extracting minerals all the way doon; the dominant aroma is raw (or perhaps gently smoked) meat, though with a bit of a swirl, slightly more complexity emerges—licorice, flowers, sage and savory (in both senses of the word). The palate is lush and rich, a very complete mouthful of wine.
Contra is a wine that reflects the opposite of modern winemaking sensibilities, meaning wines overworked and amped up, pushed and prodded into Procrustean palate-numbing sameness. À rebours, this wine is a contrarian blend of the most old-fangled grape variety, carignane, from several extremely old (100 year+), nongrafted, dry-farmed head-trained vineyards, located in Contra Costa County, and the puer aeternus syrah, young, vibrant, racy and peppery. Contra is a somewhat contradictory flashblack/forward to the straightforward, frank wines of yester- and future-year. A field blend that contravenes contraindicated convention, with aromas of cherries and licorice, flavorful cassis, blackberries, and silky tannins. A wine (hardly) contraindicated for gastronomy, it is above all, contrapuntal.
Dedicated to producing wines in a more unaffected, hands-off style, with a particular emphasis on the expression of terroir, or unique sense of place, Bonny Doon Vineyard fashioned the 2012 Contra from hand harvested grapes from the northernmost reaches of the Central Coast—old vines from Contra Costa County’s Gonsalves Vineyard and its more Southern climes, San Luis Obispo’s Alamo Creek vineyard and Santa Maria Valley’s famed Bien Nacido Vineyard. Hand sorted, indigenous yeast fermented in individual lots, extended maceration and 100% ML, before blending to achieve to a wine that is bursting with life, exuberance and deep vitality.