"Pretty much nothing the iconoclastic Randall Grahm touches falls under the conventional norms of winemaking, and that certainly includes his popular and always-satisfying rosé known as Vin Gris de Cigare.
The founder of California’s Bonny Doon Vineyard doesn’t just bleed off some of the juice of a single red variety to make his rosé; the 2019 Vin Gris de Cigare is a $15 blend of seven different grapes: more than three-quarters of it Grenache, with smaller proportions of Cinsault, Grenache Gris, and the white Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Picpoul, and Clairette Blanche.
The “pink wine of the earth,” as Grahm describes it, is a reflection of his fascination with terroir and his focus (perhaps obsession is more accurate) on Rhone and other southern French varieties in California’s Central Coast area, where the grapes in this rosé blend come from vineyards in Monterey County, Paso Robles, and Arroyo Seco.
What we have, then, in the 2019 Vin Gris de Cigare, is a rosé of complexity and character, which is more than can be said of many rosés that flood the wine landscape at this time of year from here and abroad. There is a nice balance between fruit and spice and herbs notes, with aromas and tastes of strawberry, raspberry, and white peach, with hints of white flowers, thyme, and white pepper. There’s a lot going on here: The vivid fruit up front gives way to a more herbal quality that’s present on a creamy finish.
Potential food pairings abound, from full-flavored fish to grilled chicken to your choice of vegetable dishes. With 26,000 cases of the 2019 Vin Gris de Cigare produced, it will be widely available. - EDWARD DEITCH"
"Grahm scored a hit with this Vin Gris de Cigare long before rosé became a craze. The wine is a blend of traditional Rhone grapes, with a third of the blend being white varieties. This wine has been reliably good year after year. - Dave McIntyre" - Washington Post (January 2020), EXCELLENT, GREAT VALUE
"Extremely pale pink. Incisive red berry and citrus pith qualities on the nose, along with suave floral, spice and mineral flourishes. Lithe and sharply focused on the palate, offering tangy strawberry, red currant and orange zest flavors and a touch of honeysuckle. Finishes dry and taut, with resonating florality and persistent red berry and mineral notes. This wine's blend of depth and finesse is pretty impressive, especially in light of its price. - Josh Raynolds" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (August 2019), 91 pts
"Mostly grenache (57 percent noir, 18 percent blanc), with mourvedre, roussanne, carignan and cinsault, this wine gains its color from brief skin contact. It’s a great summer refresher, with the brightness of a juicy, ripe peach and enough tart peach acidity to bring out the fruit depths." - Wine & Spirits Magazine (June 2018), 90 pts, BEST BUY - YEAR'S BEST ROSES
"Randall makes a terrific, classically styled rosé and the 2016 Vin Gris de Cigare Rosé is reminiscent of a classy pink from Provence. Grapefruit, strawberries, spice and hints of rose petal all emerge from this medium-bodied, supple, elegant and straight up delicious rose." - Jeb Dunnuck - Jeb Dunnuck (August 2nd 2017), 90 pts