Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant “Cuvee Oumuamua” 2018

$19.99

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What is it? Bonny Doon’s flagship “homage to Chateauneuf du Pape” Cigare Volant. This blend of 52% grenache, 35% cinsault and 13% syrah from California’s Monterey County was made with subtle French oak aging by living legend Randall Grahm, California’s original “Rhone Ranger.” This scored 93 points from Wine Enthusiast and 3 Stars out of 3 from Dave McIntyre. ABV is 13.5%.

What does it taste like? Randall Grahm’s full notes, always worth a read, are at the Bonny Doon Vineyard website. He says in part: The color is a deep, vivid violet-red… On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch note (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruits (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault. It goes something like this: juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness.

Is it right for you? How often do you see a long-honored California wine with high ratings, made by a winemaker the Washington Post called “both icon and iconoclast,” that’s loaded with fruit and savory spice, and able to cellar until it’s a decade old, for under $20? You know what to do!

Is it ready to drink? Made to drink on release, this is well-balanced and already a joy to experience, especially with a quick decanting -- say, 15 minutes. It also has the structure and intensity to drink well until it’s a decade old. Get plenty to enjoy it now, and in the years to come.