Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2012 A Proper Claret

This red blend comes from the laboratory of wine “bad boy” Randall Grahm. He is the brains behind Bonny Doon Vineyard and one of the most fascinating wine personalities I’ve met.
You can read more about Randall here in our interview from a couple years ago. His current approach is to produce “vin de terroir, ” that express the essence of the grape and land with minimal interference from the winemaker.
Anyhoo, earlier this week Green Dragon and I dug into the cellar and came up with this 2012 A Proper Claret. I’m not sure if there is a stylistic difference between Claret and a Bordeaux blend. The term Claret gained popularity in England during the 1700s. The term used to mean clear or light-colored wine. At the time Bordeaux wines were closer to current day rosé in color.
Whatever you call it, this is a Cabernet-driven blend. It features 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petit Verdot, 8% Tannat, 7% Syrah and 1% Petite Sirah. It’s a deep, murky raspberry color and medium to full bodied.
When Green Dragon sniffed, she proclaimed it fruity, but the nose for me smelled a bit, well, meaty. As we sampled, this had a deliciously different taste. With nearly 40% of the wine comprised of off-beat grapes (and I say that with affection) this has a bold flavor that has 100% Cabernet beat by a mile.
The flavor for me was stewed fruit with a bit of plum. Green Dragon said the fruitiness had passed and the Claret was trending to barnyard. That’s in a positive way. When you sample this wine, you get a “chunk of funk” and a glassful of goodness.
It’s in its drinking prime right now and for $15, the price is on target.

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