Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wine Blogging Wednesday # 16: 2002 Bonny Doon Madiran 'cuvee speciale'

Here's a label for ya: one that lures you in, makes you want to hold the bottle close to your nose and figure out what's up with all the leeetle-beeety squiggles. Are they little dancers? Are they birds?

Actually, they're teeny vines. But I had to call Bonny Doon to find that out.

The label is an original work by Christine Colin, wife of beloved Alsace producer, Andre Ostertag. The green and red circles represent the union of white and red grapes.

White and red? Say whaaaa?

You've heard of the French (and now Australian) method of boosting aromatics and stabilizing color by adding viognier to syrah, right? This is a little twist on that method, only the red grape is the traditional tannat and the white is a little oddball called petit manseng, which is grown in the region and is usually used for sweet whites.

I can't pass lightly over the fact that this Madiran is 100% tannat. Wow. Usually, tannat, being a big tannic monster, is blended with Cab to tame it. Bonny Doon's infamous Heart of Darkness is done this way, with 67% tannat with Cabs Sauv and Franc for suppler drinking. This cuvee speciale is made by letting the tannat juice sit on the skins of the petit manseng, and only mingling a very small amount of their juice with the tannat.

But this baby is the product of the beautiful "What-if?"-askin' mind of Master Graham. Gawd Bless the man.

2002 DEWN Madiran Cuvee Speciale

Like it's dark sister H of D Madiran, this wine is deep, deeeeep violet, solid black almost immediately after the rim. I let my glass sit while I tried to make blogger download my $*#@ing picture, so that was about 45 minutes.

You can smell it while it sits on the table. I get cassis, menthol, fresh, moist tobacco, and dark flowers: a big hairy guy at my door with a bouquet of roses, a cigar in his pocket, and the remnants of Vicks vapor rub on his chest. Whew, that's scary.

Oh, I like it. It has a meatiness to it, a faint smokiness, big rich fruit, the mint, and something kinda honey-like. The tannins are grippy but not bitchy, and it finishes nice and long. It simply demands lamb or game.

My verdict: kickass! Check it out, it's available to anyone, not just DEWN wine club members. It'll age nicely, too. Good thing I got two bottles.

Shout out to Mr. John Locks of Bonny Doon vineyard. Thanks for the info, especially since I coulda read it myself if I'd looked on the site long enough!



Blogger Derrick said...


Wow, an oddball Bonny Doon that's available outside their DEWN club. Nice (and I'm a Tannat fan). Nice research on the wine as well: Nice that the Director of Marketing (or whatever John's official title) gave you the info. Keep an eye out this weekend for the roundup.

11:54 PM  
Blogger caveman said...

Did they really mix tannat with manseng...superb idea. I generally despise anything tannat but that might make it acceptable to my woosy palette..

4:00 PM  
Anonymous WaterintoWino said...

Trippy label man! Are those vines moving? lol

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

That sounds wicked..great label too

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