Bonny Doon Vineyard Syrah Cuvée Splendide 2006

This one slipped in under the radar somehow; not a wine club selection from Bonny Doon, this was a one-off purchase from last summer. I’m a sucker for Randall Grahm’s wolf-cries; just as his Heart Has Its Rieslings was said to be the veritable bomb back in the fall of 2001 (word to the wise: there are still a number of bottles of that for sale at the main Glengarry shop in Auckland to this day), this was another one of Mr Grahm’s “OMG yum” mentions to wine club members; as a result, it’s open in front of me now.

Nothing surprising about color here; what is surprising is the smell. It’s a witness to the change in philosophy at the winery in Santa Cruz, I reckon: no more weird, microbullage-d to death velveteen aromas. Instead, there’s a sour dust lazily orbiting the wine in in the glass. It’s a surprise, a good surprise. Hell, I’ll even go out on a limb here and say that there’s something like Slim Jims and truckstop chili: a stale meatiness with the suggestion of warm asphalt.

Appealingly restrained, upright, dry in the mouth, the finish is solidly tannic, shot through with uptight French fruit. Overall, the effect is one of unexpected minerality: the fruits are very much sitting at the back of the room, patient, yielding the stage to structure worth of an Irish nun’s lesson plan. The overall effect is deliriously delicious and would surely benefit from a fresh joint (of lamb, not Humboldt County’s finest) on the side.

Surprisingly, I think this one might actually last a long, long time: it’d be interesting to see what happens with the arthritic grip of the wine’s bones loosens and lets some of that California fruit steal the spotlight.


Bonny Doon
Price: $24
Closure: Stelvin