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California Harvest 2011: A New—and Welcome?—Direction

A cool, persistent spring was the beginning of the weather problems that would plague the 2011 California harvest, pushing back bud break to make the grapes almost three weeks behind schedule. May and June had heavy rains, and the summer heat never really spiked. Pinot noir and chardonnay seemed happy with this weather, and many producers were able to pick elegant, low sugar grapes before the main vineyard event of 2011: October rain.
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2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare – Santa Cruz, CA

I will confess I am partial to Bonny Doon’s wines, but the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is one of the finest rosés I’ve tasted. I keep several bottles well chilled at all times. A blend of grenache, cinsault, roussanne, mourvèdre, syrah and grenache blanc, it is perhaps untypical of a Southern Rhône rosé since two white grapes (roussane and grenache blanc) have found their way into the blend, but to me the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is a quintessential rosé. Crisp and light yet round in the mouth, the strawberry and summer fruit notes harmonize with the sweetness of the tomatoes, while the citrus notes and crispness of the wine cut through the richness of the olive oil. You’ll keep sipping this one long after you’ve licked your plate clean.