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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Bonny Doon Domaine des Blagueurs Syrah-Sirrah 1999

Syrah/Shiraz from California
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    Winemaker Notes

    1999 was an extremely challenging year in the Languedoc (as was 2000 but more on that next year). We were extremely fortunate to have deepened our association with Michel Escande, the absolutely brilliant winemaker of Borie de Maurel who consistently produces top-notch syrah in Felines-Minervois. In this case he certainly saved our bacon-fat. We also made great progress with the heretofore old-fangled winemaking co-op in Pépeiux, as rustic town, deep in the heart of the Land of the Cathars. We dragged them kicking and screaming into the Age of Macération Prolongée and Bubbles. More elegant than the fat '98, the wine shows a great deal of class and distinction. We are beginning to better understand the terroir of Minervois and how to best deploy it as a carrier for expressing the feminine genius of la syrah.

    Critical Acclaim

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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 incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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    Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

    In the Glass

    At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

    Perfect Pairings

    Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

    ANC1116_1999 Item# 38266