Science-Fiction Wine?

Bonny Doon's Randall Grahm keeps winemaking weird

Science-Fiction Wine?

My assignment was to find a science-fiction wine. Wow! This was going to be tough. So I immediately started thinking of some of the world's weirdest winemakers: Charles Smith of K Vintners, Chester Osborn of d'Arenberg Vineyards and Winery, Laurent Ponsot of Domaine Ponsot. In the end, it had to be Randall Grahm, president for life of Bonny Doon Vineyard and the man responsible for Le Cigare wines.

Their first Le Cigare wine was Le Cigare Volant, which is French for a flying cigar. But it's also French slang for a flying saucer. Turns out, back in the 1950s, those wacky French folk had a profound fear of being abducted by aliens. They were probably watching too many Roger Corman films. Grahm decided that was too funny not to use. Here's his description, quoting from the back label, "Cigares, the flying variant thereof, are prohibited from landing in the protected vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape by decree of that village council in 1954." Grahm's reaction to the law was to commission a picture of a flying saucer attacking a vineyard, but it's so tastefully done, about half the people never even notice the joke.

In any case, all this wayward tomfoolery would be silly if the wines weren't so good. Grahm makes three versions. Le Cigare Blanc ($22) is a combination of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, which yields a wine with light mineral aromas and dense mouthfeel. Try it with fresh Pure Luck goat cheese. Rosé lovers will go for the Vin Gris de Cigare ($15); fashioned to be like a wine from Provence, it's the perfect complement for grilled salmon. Le Cigare Volant ($30) is styled after the famous red wine of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignane, and Cinsault grapes. Its blackberry and raspberry aromas work well with grilled meats.

And check out the cute alien on top of the screw top. Very cool. Bonny Doon wines are available at Grape Vine Market, Twin Liquors, and Whole Foods.

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Bonny Doon Vineyard, Randall Grahm, Le Cigare Volant, Le Cigare Blanc, Vin Gris de Cigare

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