Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare is a perennial favorite, always delightful and elegant, always a Randall Grahm-sized slice of Rhônicity that's pretty in pink.
The '14 Vin Gris de Cigare is made from eight different Rhône grape varieties of the Central Coast - 35% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre, 16% Grenache Blanc, 12.5% Roussanne, 8% Carignane, 8% Cinsaut, 1.5% Marsanne - whew - and 1% Counoise. This rosé has a 13% abv number and sells for $18. The iconic label art by Chuck House recalls the red and white relatives of this pink Cigare.
This wine is a very pale pink, like the inside of a sea shell. There is a fair amount of salinity to go along with that shoreline appearance, too. A nose of strawberries and cherries has just a slight green quality to it, while the acidity-fresh palate shows red fruit in a salty, earthy setting. A perfect match for anything from the sea - it's elegant, it's complex, it's refreshing and I'm doon with it.
Monday, April 21, 2014
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.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Who better to make a wine for summer than the Picnic Wine Company? Their Blue Plate Rosé is branded after the restaurant world's blue plate special, a cornerstone of American flavor and value. They have both ends covered with a very tasty wine for $12 a bottle. The company also makes a Chenin Blanc and a Grenache.
Their rosé wine is made nearly completely from Grenache grapes of Lodi, California. There is a five percent splash of Napa Valley Flora grapes. Well, I had never heard of Flora grapes, either. Turns out they are a cross between Gewürztraminer and Sémillon, designed to inherit the spice of the former and the body of the latter. That five percent comes across stronger than you might think. The wine has restrained alcohol at just 13%, and only 700 cases were made. Don't be late for the picnic.
With an inviting color that lies somewhere between rich salmon and light coral, this wine looks like the real deal before you get close enough for a sniff. That sniff, when you are close enough, is even more inviting. Strawberries, watermelon and lemon peel aromas pretty much pave the way for summer.
The flavors on the palate will rival your picnic. Strawberries again, with brilliant cherries and light spices are topped off by a ripping acidity that fits with whatever is in that basket on the blanket. The strawberry lingers on the palate longer than a summer sunset.
There will be more rosé wines coming as we countdown for summer on Now And Zin Wine. Stay tuned. These aren't summer reruns.
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