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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Bonny Doon California Critique of Pure Riesling 1996

Riesling from California
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    Winemaker Notes

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    Bonny Doon

    Bonny Doon

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    Bonny Doon, California
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    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).

    California

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    Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.

    Riesling

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    A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.

    In the Glass

    Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.

    Perfect Pairings

    Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

    Sommelier Secret

    It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

    CWC67438_1996 Item# 20666