2016 Le Cigare Blanc Réserve “en bonbonne"
67% Grenache Blanc, 33% Roussanne
This is the sixth iteration of Le Cigare Blanc Réserve, and we continue to learn more about the mysteries of élevage in glass demijohn. This wine is the same blend as our standard issue Cigare Blanc, apart from the fact that we’ve allowed it to undergo malolactic fermentation, and at that point, we gave it a light SO2 addition, racked it to glass demijohn (bonbonne), where it reposed for a year and a half, getting anaerobically stirred more or less fortnightly.
$48.00 per bottle / $518.40 per case
$40.80 per bottle / $460.80 per case (Members)
I have written in various places about the inspiration to age wine in demijohns/carboys/bonbonnes. Some of it has come from my fascination with oxidation/reduction chemistry, an aspect of wine art/science not well understood and its importance greatly unappreciated. Years ago, as a young pup I tasted wine from carboy with Dan Wheeler of Nicasio Cellars in his do-it-yourself-hand-dug cave in Soquel, and was astonished at how youthful were the wines, twenty plus years later, almost as if they had been placed in suspended animation. At about the same time, I also happened to taste the wines from Emidio Pepe in Abruzzo, who also aged his product in demijohns, likewise evincing extraordinary youthfulness and vitality.
The ‘16 LCB is an effort that evokes some of the earlier vintages of Cigare Blanc; low yields have given us very intense levels of concentration and intensity. The wine is all about pome fruit—specifically Asian pear and quince, with ancillary suggestions of fennel and the slightest hint of wintergreen.
Derived from a single vineyard source, the Beeswax Vineyard, in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County, is farmed organically, surrounded by wilderness, and shielded from the cool Pacific Coast winds by the Santa Lucia Mountains. Beeswax Vineyard grows complex, concentrated and mineral intensive grapes from deeply rooted vines.
We continue in our quest to achieve ever greater complexity and distinctiveness with our Cigare Blanc, in part through the rather unorthodox practice of élevage en bonbonnes, in this case, five gallon glass demijohns, stirred more or less monthly.
Food Pairing Notes
Very soft and rich, a wine intended for gastronomic bliss, particularly brilliant with sushi and other seafood. The perfect accompaniment to a formidable aïoli monstre. Other ideas include Uni Risotto, topped with a quail egg yolk or any leftover Tsar Nicoulai Gold Pearl Trout Roe from your Sparkling Rose of Grenache pairing! Double and triple cream cheeses, such as Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam. Creamy cauliflower soup. Zucchini gratin with lots of gruyere cheese.