Bonny Doon Ca' del Solo Albariño 2007

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.

Price: US $20
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: July 2008

Bonny Doon DEWN Barbera/Freisa Amarone 2007

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