Lynn and I went to dinner at Oliveto's last night, and Randall Grahm was there, Bonny Doon Vineyard being the featured winery of the evening. So, in addition to the regular wines available by the glass and bottle, a selection of several Bonny Doon wines were also being poured.
I should note that I've known Randall since we worked together at the same retail wine shop some 33 years ago, so feel free to take whatever grains of salt thought necessary . .
All three whites were served at once, followed by all four reds.
2007 Ca' del Solo Albariño, Ca' del Solo Estate Vineyard, (Monterey County, California): Produced from 75 percent Albariño (or Alvarinho, if you prefer) and 25 percent Loureiro, this truly captures the character and quality of Albariño, even to the extent that the wine shows some minerality. The difference, however, is that while this wine is, in one sense, broad across the palate, a flood light of the variety, a wine like the 2006 Albariño from the Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes (which I had the night before) is more focused, like a spotlight. Still, this is a first-rate Albariño, as fine as I've tasted from California.
2007 Ca' del Solo Muscat, Ca' del Solo Estate Vineyard, (Monterey County, California): Normally I tend to shy away from dry Muscats -- all too frequently, they have a tendency toward excessive bitterness on the palate and in the finish. This wine is very aromatic, classic Muscat aromas and flavors, silky smooth and well-balanced, with a clean, dry finish -- no bitterness whatsoever -- and a lingering aftertaste. Truly wonderful!
2006 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant" (Monterey County, California): This is a 60 percent Roussanne, 40 percent Grenache Blanc blend, light straw in color, with wonderful aromas of peach, nectarine and other stone fruits, combines with light spice, and mineral accents; on the palate, the wine is supple and smooth in texture, with generous flavors echoing the bouquet, nice structure and balance; the finish is long and lingering. Truly delightful.
2005 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Pousseur" (Central Coast AVA, California): Moderately deep red, clear and clean, the bouquet is unmistakably Syrah with blueberry, deep cherry, mineral notes and light earth; on the palate the wine is medium-bodied, flavorful and balanced,I want to say "lean" but there is no sense of underripeness or of something missing. (Perhaps, think "Crozes" rather than "Hermitage," and you might get the idea.) Very enjoyable, and actually the winner of the Thunderbird corollary.
2003 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant" (California): While this is usually a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (in that order), with the 2003 vintage Grenache plays a much smaller role in the blend. Beautiful bouquet of cherries, berries, cocoa, spice and earth, all of which is echoed on the palate, with is smooth and very flavorful -- at nearly five years of age, this wine is showing quite well, though I don't know how when -- prior to our 7:30 dinner reservations -- the bottle was opened. Anyway, this wine is more "masculine" than many of its prior vintages, and added cellaring will be rewarded.
2005 Bonny Doon Vineyard Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, (Santa Maria AVA, California): In contrast to "Le Pousseur," this is a full-bodied, dense, ripe and still youthful California Syrah. Clearly the "better" of the two Syrahs, but not particularly my cup of tea. Very good, just not my style.
2005 Ca' del Solo Nebbiolo, Ca' del Solo Estate Vineyard, (Monterey County, California): Randall and Oliveto's owner Bob Klein were kind enough to pour Lynn and I each a glass of 1979 Barbaresco (Monte Fico?) from the Produttori del Barbaresco. This was clearly a cousin of that wine -- American, to be sure; brash and simplistic in its youth, but most definitely related!