Bonny Doon A Proper Claret
Bonny Doon
United States - California

Some cautionary words: Bonny Doon Vineyard is, as we all know or should know, a strictly cabernet-free zone, at least it has been for the last twenty-nine years. The last "Claret" nominally produced at Bonny Doon Vineyard was in 1985 from grapes grown at our late Estate in the eponymous hamlet of Bonny Doon. It was a blend of approximately equal parts of cabernet sauvignon, cab. franc, merlot and malbec, and against all expectation, was actually pretty damn good.

Randall Grahm, owner and winemaker, has expressed indifference, occasionally bordering on amused disdain, for this popular grape variety. We are not really at liberty to say how Bonny Doon Vineyard has come to be entrusted with the distribution of a wine made from such improbably alien grape varieties, but suffice to say that the deal was doon grudgingly and harumphingly.

Tasting Notes
So, with these caveats, the sentiment at Bonny Doon Vineyard is that if we ever were to drink a cabernet-based blend, this would be one that would serve quite well. It is lean, neither overly alcoholic (weighing in at 13.2%) nor overly extracted, nor overly oakèd; it is precisely what one would imagine A Proper Claret to be. It is slightly ironic that the uber-negativity heaped upon the hapless Right Bank cepage, Merlot, from the film, "Sideways," has actually resulted in a tremendous overall improvement in California's extant plantings of the grape, and for that we have been the beneficiary. The characteristic softness of Merlot is certainly an important feature of this wine; the substantial dollop of Petit Verdot (24%) has added a silky note of violets and textural elegance. There is still a lovely minty, cedary aspect to this wine, reflective of its perfect balance, with nary a prunish note to be found.

Winemaker Notes
Now, as to the label. What can we say? We are just scandalized, sputteringly unable to countenance the opportunistic wine marketeers who would stoop to using lurid imagery merely to sell a bottle of wine. Has it really come to this? It is only because we enjoyed the wine so much that we are willing to put up with the tasteless monstrosity that is this label. "Proper" (!?!) Claret? Indeed.

Wine Type
40% Merlot, 24% Petit Verdot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec

Proper (British) mutton, proper leg of lamb, (ideally served with proper Yorkshire pudding). All joking aside, this wine is delicious with a wild mushroom risotto, roasted turkey roulade, or smoked duck. As we head in the fall and winter months, this is absolutely the wine you'd want in your glass on a chilly evening by the fire.

Reviews and News

2015 Bonny Doon A Proper Claret - 91 PTS - WE

2015 Bonny Doon A Proper Claret - 91 PTS - WE

wine enthusiast 91 pts"Fresh-pressed boysenberry meets with jammier plum-sauce aromas on the nose of this blend of 40% Merlot, 24% Petit Verdot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec. This wine offers light herbal, spice and wood aromas while the palate proves very versatile and lively, with bright, tart pomegranate flavors and a touch of purple flowers. - MATT KETTMANN"
- Wine Enthusiast (February 2018), 91 pts

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Producer Information: Bonny Doon

Bonny Doon Vineyard was founded in 1983 by renowned winemaker Randall Grahm. Randall’s start in the wine industry was not what you might expect for someone with his reputation and talent: ...
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