Shades of the late Domaine de Chardonnay! By that we mean we have here a sort of interesting category mistake. This pinot actually is literally grigio - that would translate as vaguely pink within our sensory range. There is a strange unfamiliarity to seeing things as they really are. The good news is that the wine is really quite amazing. There is a wonderful echt pseudo-Alsace nose - for me there is always a dusky, jasmine, citrus-peel perfume to Frenchified pinot gris and a wonderfully decadent peel-me-a-jujube-date quality that reposes recumbently in the background. The winemaking in this case was a little twisted. We gave the grapes from our Soledad vineyard approximately thirty-six hours of macération pelliculaire, ergo the bleeding heart, pinko color and further ergo the exuberantly exotic nose. Very rich, almost unctuous texture. A triumphant moment for the Soledadese.
Bonny Doon Winery
Based in Santa Cruz, heartland of New Age thinking and deferred transition to adulthood, Bonny Doon Vineyard has a not-so surprising history of idealism and innovation. Founded by Randall Grahm in the bucolic hamlet of Bonny Doon, California, in 1983, we’re known for strikingly original wines made from lesser-known (though no less noble) grape varieties, the vinous Ugly Ducklings. Bonny Doon Vineyard made its mark with pioneering work with Rhône varieties, innovative production techniques, and imaginative marketing that has, truth be told, sometimes been too clever by half. Since the adoption of biodynamic farming practices in 2004 and the radical slimming down of product portfolio and case production in 2006 (with a concomitant greater degree of focus and attention to detail), the wines evince a more complex expression of varietal character, a more noticeable sense of organization, and a greater degree of life-force.
Come visit our Tasting Room, located at 450 Highway 1, Davenport, CA, about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. This is a wonderful intimate space that is the perfect venue to enjoy our doon-home wines, even if your home is perhaps Alpha Centauri. We’re here to serve mankind (wines that are out of this world).
View all Bonny Doon Wines
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA
, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA
, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA
, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.