Some cautionary words: Bonny Doon Vineyard is, as we all know or should know, a strictly cabernet-free zone, at least it has been for the last twenty-nine years. The last “Claret” nominally produced at Bonny Doon Vineyard was in 1985 from grapes grown at our late Estate in the eponymous hamlet of Bonny Doon. It was a blend of approximately equal parts of cabernet sauvignon, cab. franc, merlot and malbec, and against all expectation, was actually pretty damn good.
Randall Grahm, owner and winemaker, has expressed indifference, occasionally bordering on amused disdain, for this popular grape variety. We are not really at liberty to say how Bonny Doon Vineyard has come to be entrusted with the distribution of a wine made from such improbably alien grape varieties, but suffice to say that the deal was doon grudgingly and harumphingly.
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So, with these caveats, the sentiment at Bonny Doon Vineyard
is that if we ever were to drink a cabernet-based blend, this
would be one that would serve quite well. It is lean, neither
overly alcoholic (weighing in at 13.2%) nor overly extracted,
nor overly oakèd; it is precisely what one would imagine A
Proper Claret to be. The wine contains a substantial dollop of
petit verdot (22%), adding a silky note of violets and textural
elegance, in counterpoint to the lead-in-the-pencil firmness
offered by the inclusion of the virile tannat (22%). Tannat, the grape implicated in the French paradox (and the vinifera
variety with resveratrol levels that are off the charts), is principally
grown in Gascony (land of Les Trois Mousquetaires), though it was
historically grown as well in Bordeaux as late as the 19th century.
this wine with the 2013 APC, the second vintage, the ’14
version is a bit plusher and posher, with softer tannins, not
unreminiscent of the overstuffed chair at one’s Club. There is
still a lovely minty, cedary aspect to this wine, reflective of its
perfect balance, with nary a prunish note to be found.
GOLD, Critic's Challenge 2016
Now, as to the label. What can we say? We are just scandalized,
sputteringly unable to countenance the opportunistic wine
marketeers who would stoop to using lurid imagery merely
to sell a bottle of wine. Has it really come to this? It is only
because we enjoyed the wine so much that we are willing
to put up with the tasteless monstrosity that is this label.
“Proper” (!?!) Claret? Indeed.
Food Pairing Notes
Proper (British) mutton, proper leg of lamb, (ideally served with proper Yorkshire pudding).