Exceptional Excellent Very Good
The sale of Bonny Doon gives us an opportunity to taste some of the core wines that will stick around, as well as those that will be discontinued. This week’s list includes the revamped flagship red, Le Cigare Volant, and the popular Vin Gris de Cigare. Both of these will remain part of the Bonny Doon line. Fans who want to splurge should look for the Old Telegram before its message fades away. Other selections include an outstanding Côtes du Rhône and a delicious cabernet sauvignon from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant "Cuvée Oumuamua" 2018
Monterey County, Calif., $23
Le Cigare Volant has been Bonny Doon’s flagship wine since the first vintage in 1984. Randall Grahm named it for a little-known 1954 ordinance passed by the town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, in the southern Rhone Valley, banning “flying cigars,” or UFOs. With the 2018 vintage, Grahm changed the style to a lighter-bodied wine meant for early drinking rather than extended cellar aging. This blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah is lithe and racy, with aromas of cherries and spice, and a lovely hint of grapefruit rind on the finish. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville, Roland Park Wines & Liquors in Baltimore, Wine Merchant in Lutherville. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, Corks & Kegs in Richmond, Kroger (various locations), Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Wegmans (various locations), Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria.
Bonny Doon Vineyard Old Telegram 2016
Contra Costa County, Calif., $55
Old Telegram is Grahm’s tribute to the brawny wines of Bandol. Made entirely from mataro, or mourvedre, this wine has inky color and spicy aromas of pepper and clove, followed by flavors of Bing cherries and wild herbs. It makes a great match for stews or grilled meats, but it is also deceptively seductive on its own. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery Tasting Room in Washington, Locke Store in Millwood, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Mom’s Apple Pie in Round Hill, Yiannis in Virginia Beach.
La Bastide Saint Dominique Côtes-du-Rhône 2018
Rhone Valley, France, $16.50
The flavors of this lovely wine — wild herb notes known as garrigue — followed by blackberry, plum, mushroom and earth, should grab your attention with the first sip. The blend, made from organic grapes, is 60 percent grenache, with the balance as syrah. Who knew a trip to the hill towns of southern France costs only $16.50 when propelled on the wings of your imagination? ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at Cork & Fork. Available in Virginia at Tinto (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk), Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Requiem Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Columbia Valley, Wash., $22
Despite its solemn name, this delicious wine should bring a smile to your face. Cassis and blackberry flavors, with a hint of herbs and a plush texture highlight a sunny ripeness. ABV: 14.8 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Dixie Liquor, Rodman’s, Van Ness Wines and Liquors. Available in Maryland at Annebeth’s and Wine Cellars of Annapolis in Annapolis, Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Cheers & Spirits and Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Fenwick Beer & Wine and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown, One Eleven Main in Bel Air, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Wishing Well Liquors in Easton. Available in Virginia at Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria, Richmond Wine Station in Richmond.
Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare 2018
Central Coast, Calif., $20
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. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Glen’s Garden Market, Whole Foods Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Montpelier Liquors in Laurel, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s in Alexandria, Classic Cigars & British Goodies and Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Indulge Bakery & Bistro in Newport News, Whole Foods Market (various locations).
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.