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Proprietor Randall Grahm bills himself as "The Original Rhone Deranger." Grahm is a graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz (Liberal Arts) and University of California at Davis (Plant Sciences). He developed a single-minded obsession with Pinot Noir early on. With his family's assistance, he purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a quaint area known as Bonny Doon intent on producing the next great American Pinot Noir. He was more successful with Rhone varieties and the Bonny Doon Estate Vineyard was eventually planted to Syrah, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. The inaugural release of the infamous Le Cigare Volant was a wine that spurred a widespread interest in Rhone varieties in California.
Grahm went on to cultivate a wide number of varieties in Monterey County including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto and Freisa. Plans are afoot to plant even more esoteric southern Italian varieties.
Grahm has garnered many prestigious awards including a Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year James Beard Foundation Award in 1994 and the Bon Appetit Magazine Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year Award in 1999. His idiosyncratic newsletters are frequently reproduced. His quirky labels are unmatched in the wine business. Grahm has been an outspoken proponent of screw caps and biodynamic viticulture.
In recent years he has sold off part of his wine empire, attempting to return to his small production roots. He has even developed new interest in Pinot Noir. In 2005 he produced DEWN Pinot Noir Normale from the Gimelli Vineyard in San Benito County and the DEWN Pinot Transfusion in which Pinot Noir was co-fermented with Pinot Gris
A tasting room is open daily from 12:00 to close in downtown Santa Cruz at 328 Ingalls Street. The wines are also sold online.
2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard Central Coast Vin Gris De Cigare
13.0% alc., $12, screwcap. The pink analog of Le Cigare Volant. A blend of red and white Rhone varieties. · Light orange coral color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of strawberry, raspberry, peach and melon in a clean, crisp and dry style which is tasty and satisfying. This wine does what a Rosé should do: refresh Score: 88. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »