Friday, April 28, 2017

Flying Cigars And Wine

This is the wine that started it all for Bonny Doon Vineyards. First produced in 1984, Le Cigare Volant's blend of California-grown Rhône grape varieties made Randall Grahm's Rhône Ranger persona.

In 1954, the community leaders in Châteauneuf-du-Pape began to worry about flying saucers - they called them flying cigars, cigares volant - landing in the vineyards and tearing up the precious grapevines. So they passed a law making it illegal to land a flying cigar amongst the vines. And for more than 60 years, it has worked. All the flying cigares are from California.

Grahm calls the 2012 Cigare a "stylistic departure from recent more Grenache-centric vintages." True enough, the 2012 is top-loaded with Mourvèdre grapes. Grahm says that variety is "quite pronounced and expressive" here. That 39% is joined by 33% Grenache, 26% Syrah and 2% Cinsault. Alcohol hits a modest 13.5% abv, 4000 cases were made and the wine sells by the bottle for $45.

The nose of a LCV should be savored, always. The black olive... my god the black olive. The leather, the cigar box, the campfire. Savor the savory. Nobody does savory like Randall Grahm. Fruit? Oh, yeah, I smell fruit, too. It's all that other stuff I live for, though. The Mourvèdre-heavy mix of the 2012 vintage has balls. The blackberry and plum flavors are forceful, magnificent. Tannins are strong, but with enough give to make a good sipper. I usually am not called to have a steak with LCV, but this time I am. Spices fight for attention, and get it. There is cardamom and cinnamon, sage and rosemary. The oak spice is like a dollop of whipped cream on top of dessert, light and tasty.

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