2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant - Cuvee Oumuamua" Monterey County Rhône Blend

SKU #1443165 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 Randall Grahm’s ever-evolving ideology shifted again for the new label and blend of this bottling, which includes 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault and 13% Syrah. Aromas of plum, cracked pepper, crumpled carnations and dried mint lead into a bright, refreshing palate of hibiscus, anise and a curry-like spice. *Editors' Choice* (MK)  (10/2019)

91 points Vinous

 Deep, shimmering red. Displays lively red berry, cherry and floral qualities on the nose, along with building suggestions of exotic spices and succulent herbs. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering fresh raspberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that slowly turn sweeter with air. Shows sharp delineation and spicy cut on the impressively long, silky finish, which emphatically repeats the red fruit and floral notes. This vintage marks a sharp and intentional change of direction and style for this iconic wine as winemaker/owner Randall Grahm wants it to exhibit more finesse than it has in the past. (JR)  (11/2019)

K&L Notes

The latest edition of Bonny Doon's "Le Cigare Volant" carries a Cuvee name: "Oumuamua" meaning "Scout" in Hawaiian. The name continues to build on Bonny Doon's long running extra-terrestrial theme. "Oumuamua" is the name that was given to a comet-like object from outside of our solar system that was first detected at a Hawaiian observatory on Maui. The wine itself whilst sharing its southern Rhône inspired cepage (Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah) is quite different to most previous releases of Cigare Volant. The wine is very bright and pliant on the palate whilst retaining its signature savory, umami aspects that I think would trick most imbibers into believing this wine was of European origin. I think an appropriate analogy would be that the new 2018 edition is a California take on Côtes du Rhône where as previous ones had been more aimed towards Châteauneuf-du-Pape with their greater extraction and structure. What really works here is the drink-ability factor. This wine is flat out delicious and one of the more food friendly and versatile Californian reds you'll find anywhere. Randall has also priced this wine very reasonably and I think its new sub-$20 price point will make this wine as accessible to the pocket book as it is on the palate. Bravo! (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L Domestic Wine Buyer)


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Price: $19.95

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By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/16/2019 | Send Email
The new iteration of Le Cigare Volant replaces the Mourvedre with Cinsault and five years aging with only one year. The result is a fresher, and more lively wine with brighter aromatics of potpourri and crunchier mixed berry fruit. This is delicious, refreshing and about half the price of previous offerings. BRAVO. At this price you can now buy by the case.

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/12/2019 | Send Email
Bonny Doon's Le Cigare Volant is a great, fun red Rhone-inspired blend. It's vibrant in its fruit character of mixed berries, but there are more layers going on here. I like the earthy tones that border on savoriness grooving into deeper spicy notes. I'm happy the winery brought Le Cigare Volant back into its repertoire, and at this price it's a new go-to weeknight red in my house.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/4/2019 | Send Email
Long before I landed at K&L, one of my first wine jobs in California was working at Bonny Doon Vineyard for the inimitable Randall Grahm. During my very eventful few years there I was lucky enough to taste every vintage ever produced of the iconic Le Cigare Volant (including the first ever bottling that happens to be my birth year). I was saddened a few years back when Randall announced he was not going to produce Cigare Volant anymore. Well surprise surprise, that didn't last long - it's back! However the real revelation here is that the new Cigare Volant bottling is significantly less expensive than prior releases but retains all of it's unique character. How often does a winery re-release an iconic wine and price it at half the price of prior vintages!? The weight and structure of the 2018 cuvee is perhaps a little more "Côtes du Rhône Village" than "Châteauneuf-du-Pape" (the historic inspiration for the wine) - but to be honest with you I love that this wine has tons of drink-ability and upfront charm. By no means is this simple, fruity wine...it still has plenty of savory, earthy, umami notes that are so important to Randall and make it a dead ringer for southern Rhone. The mid-weight palate and open knit structure is down right quaffable. Bravo to the folks Bonny Doon Vineyard for the wine in the bottle and the very fair pricing that will allow just about anyone to get their hands on this very tasty bottle.
Top Value!

By: Lilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/30/2019 | Send Email
This is excellent example of classic Côtes-du-Rhône style made by one of the best wineries in California. It's a medium weight wine with a whirlwind of flavors! Bright, spicy, balanced to perfection; the fruit is vibrant and juicy but not heavy or sweet. flavor profile includes wild forest berries and muddled cherries with notes of raspberry coulis. Superb!

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/29/2019 | Send Email
It's been a few years since we've seen a Rhone blend such as this from Bonny Doon, because they weren't reaching the level of quality Randall wanted. The fact that they have spent years perfecting this wine, and now it is finally for release, means it is something pretty special. Fresh and bright red fruit with medium weight body makes this a crowd-pleaser and a fantastic food pairing wine. The cooler climate sites keep this wine from becoming a fruit or alcohol bomb. I'm excited to see this style of wine back in rotation for Bonny Doon and sincerely hope they keep it up.

By: Tim Telli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/29/2019 | Send Email
Randall Graham, one of the original Rhone Rangers, is back with his hommage to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and alien visitors, Le Cigare Volant. The 2018 is a blend of 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, and 13% Syrah. The wine is lighter than previous vintages which must be due to the high proportion of Cinsault in the mix and no Mourvedre this year. The wine is bright and fresh with flavors of kirsch and berries, nice acid and is drinking really well right out of the gate. This would be great on the table with Thanksgiving fare or other holiday favorites.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Rhone Blends

Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Monterey/Carmel Valley

- These heavily planted regions on either side of the vast Salinas Valley account for much of the mass-produced, commercial wine sold in supermarkets nationwide. In the hills, however, and in sub-AVAs like Chalone and Santa Lucia Highlands, quality is much higher. Pinot noir and chardonnay look to be particularly promising.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5