Fresh off the far fresher and fruitier Grenache & Cinsault-heavy iteration this iconic label has become in 18 and 19, (and Petite Sirah! perish the thought), I felt it necessary to pop an almost 10YO version of the classic. Wide garnet brick on a still-ruby core, the nose overflowing with the funky goodness I expect. Dark and delirious, the spicy fragrance brings a weedy, distilled-cherry beauty to the nose, smelling like dense fruit-garden in the summer heat. Acidic structure you can FEEL, marzipan and yogurt bring a tingly edge to the coffee-cake fruit with rotting compost tilled into black earth.
In the mouth, there’s not much to add to what has been said a million times: a wine so famous and peculiar mere glancing at the label instills immediate reflections on taste-bud memories. This one doesn’t shine with fruit or barnyard at the outset like some vintages do, it’s rather suppressed, shy of fruit but also not running terribly tertiary. Somewhere in the middle: a wine not glorious or even particularly compelling, berry cloaked behind abrasive structure, a slight Dr. Pepper candiness tinging the fruit, green masses of tannin foregoing formal introductions and charging to the forefront. It’s a dry, acrid affair, with the fruit settling down in second-fiddle as it polishes somewhat flaccidly, steering clear of prune and raisin, but clearly not a lush-fest: AS THIS WINE NEVER HAS BEEN! The dull stoniness of the nose goes hand-in-hand with the fairly astringent body, as Meyer lemon and grapefruit vie for mineralific dominance.
The 99% reading this are for certain going, “That sounds horrible!” but the regulars to this bottle know it as awkwardly beautiful and always a challenge to describe. This has never been an easy wine to review, even though I can close my eyes and *taste* it from so many visits. Due to whatever arrangements were made in the sale of the brand, these wines are still quite easily available from the source and I encourage all to pick up as many as you can afford. I’ve never had a disappointing one–nor a boring one–and the pure CdP goodness packed into the older bottles IS NO MORE. Act sharp.
2012 BONNY DOON ‘Le Cigare Volant’ MV/GR/SY/Cin/ 39/33/26/2 Central Coast California 13.5