A rosé wine has a tough job to do. It needs to be serious wine, but it needs to be fun, too. Too much serious, not enough fun. Too much fun, that's bad, too. Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare gets the balance right - serious fun.
The bottle's front label is adorned with the famous "flying cigar" shining its illegal light over a French vineyard. As described on the back label, "Vin Gris de Cigare is the pink analogue of Le Vigare Volant, our flagship named in honor of the cigar-shaped alien craft banned from landing in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape by decree of the village council in 1954." The wine is made by using "the lightest pressings of a noir." The label also boasts that this is a "pink wine of the earth." If all that doesn't add up to serious fun, then the concept must be alien to you.
The rosé bears a modest alcohol content of only 13% abv - so you can have two percent more fun than with a Zinfandel - and is produced from 55% Grenache, 23.5% Mourvèdre, 10% Roussanne, 7% Cinsault, 2.5% Carignane and 2% Grenache Blanc grapes. It's a veritable smorgasbord of serious Rhône varieties. So that as many serious wine lovers as possible could have fun with a bottle of their own, 14,800 cases of this wine were produced. A sample was provided to me for the purpose of this article.
Light pink in color, the nose shows slightly earthy strawberry notes - always a great start for a rosé. It gets better, though with a hint of smoke here and a whiff of spearmint there. Gettin' serious up in here. The palate's fruity fun is balanced by a serious savory nature, a gentle earthiness. The acidity is substantial, but this wine opts for a creamy presentation owing to the fact that the lees - yeast cells used up in fermentation - are stirred periodically through vinification.
Vin Gris de Cigare is serious, without losing sight of the fun.