Several decades in to the ongoing, evolving project that is Bonny Doon Vineyard, it looks they may finally be arriving at the most interesting place yet – and ironically, it’s an arrival that sort of predates the winery’s founding. By that I mean that they’re now trying to produce wine the way you would have done it a hundred years ago in France, except presumably with a few newfangled tricks such as refrigeration and proper hygiene.This wine is one of the first Demeter-certified biodynamic wines they’ve grown, and the complexity of it suggests (to me, at least) that they might well be onto something. This is a far cry from the weirdly plush, microbubbled oddities they’ve been crapping out for a while now; instead, what you get here is a beautifully light-colored wine with a floral nose that’s oddly like what I imagine Portuguese laundry detergent might smell like: rose petals and generic “clean” with an edge of cucumber.In the mouth, this is fatter than you’d expect, with a finish that tapers off quickly to reveal a note of crushed seashells and faded lemon rind. Before it goes, it’s a sort of dilute orange blossom honey note you’ve got along with, well, a sort of drying minerality. It’s fairly distinctly itself, whatever that is, and as such it gets two big thumbs up from this drinker. I only wish I had a plate of fresh oysters to accompany it.
I’ve been on the Bonny Doon mailing list for coming up on a decade at this point, and I still feel my heart sink whenever I open up my every-two-months club shipment and see… something Italianate. Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to wholeheartedly embrace Italian wines and winemaking styles, and that goes double when it’s an American or other winery who have just issued a press release saying that the second the American consumer market discovers Walla Walla sangiovese, they are absolutely sure that a massive new (and profitable!) wine market will appear out of nowhere.Yes, I’ve had ecstatic experiences with Italian wines before – Amarone is by far one of my favorite wines – but when I see something like this, I get all sad panda, very quickly. So, it was with some trepidation that I opened this bottle tonight.There’s an indefinable, high-tech-ness to the nose here; it smells massively fruity, and there’s an odd designer yeast-y (or something) note here was well. It’s kind of like aerosolized white pepper intruding into a basket of overripe raspberries set somewhere in a dilapadated garden of tea roses; there’s also a sour muskiness that smells of dry cleaning sent out after a long night at Studio 54 – all floral aldehydes, sweat, and “clean.” Finally, there’s a damascone peachiness sneaking in at the end. It’s all very confusing and kind of remarkable – this is wine? is it supposed to smell like this?Just a little bit sweet in the mouth, there’s a wonderful dark cherry note with tannins hiding in the background (but they don’t really seem to do much; was this microoxygenated?). Acidity is reasonable, it’s actually kind of delicious, and then there’s a very soft finish of damask rose with the tannin lingering around just a bit as well.So, yeah, this is a total Frankenwine, but hey. It’s delicious, it’s a welcome experiment, and it would (presumably) be a hell of a lot of fun to serve this to a connisseur of European wines and see if they can guess what it is. I know I couldn’t.Bonny Doon VineyardPrice: US $25Closure: StelvinDate tasted: June 2008