Monday, January 25, 2016

Cinsaut And Counoise - A Great Idea

This is not a regulation Bonny Doon wine, but rather one produced for their DEWN Club, according to head man Randall Grahm. He says it “really shows the potential great elegance of Cinsaut,” a grape that doesn't get nearly enough time in the spotlight.  Neither does Counoise.

In a world where "a great idea" often sounds like "get some cheap Cabernet grapes," it is nice to have a Randall Grahm around. When he has "a great idea" it is usually something like this wine.  Much like musician Ry Cooder’s early ‘70s work seemed to abhor the mainstream like nature abhors a vacuum, so does Grahm march to the music in his own head.  And we are richer for it.

The 67% Cinsaut grapes are blended with 33% Counoise, making it a blend that I have never personally enjoyed - or even heard of.  The wine gets a “California” label designation since the grapes come from all over - Paso Robles, Mendocino and Lodi. 61% of the grapes hail from the esteemed Camp Four Vineyard, with 20% from Alder Springs and 19% from Michael David. 280 cases were produced, it hits 13.7% abv and it retails for $30. Label art is by Grady McFerrin.

The wine looks like it’s trying to become a rosé, but not getting there. It’s on the pink side of red. The medium-ruby hue looks like a light Pinot Noir. The nose of this wine puts me in mind of a Provençal rosé. That may be due to the fact that most of the time when you get to taste either of these grapes, it is in a rosé. Stemmy herbal notes play off the cherry and strawberry aromas, just like in the pink stuff - only more intense. There is a smoky element hovering around the top of the glass. The palate shows wonderfully dark cherry flavors with a smattering of savory spice and an herbal edge. Could this be what Cabernet Franc rosé would taste like? Would someone make one so we could find out?