It’s not every day you get to meet your sports hero or see a movie star, and despite all of Randall Grahm’s down to earth attitude and casual approachability – he is one of those inspiring people that I look up to with high regards.
In case you don’t know Randall Grahm, he is the soul of Bonny Doon Wine and his wine making ability and grotesque amount of wine intelligence make him a ‘Sage” in the Wine World. I am only part-way thru his book “Been Doon For So Long” and am learning so much about what it is that makes Randall, and how that made Bonny Doon. My comments stop here, until I finish the book. (but you should also know he is the forefather of the the www.rhonerangers.org and if you are curious about terroir read this)
As a result of winning an Auction Lot from the RhoneRangers.org, 5 friends and myself were allowed to have dinner with Randall at his new Cellar Door Cafe and Bonny Doon tasting room (Delicious food and renowned chef). The afternoon started off with a barrel tasting of 10+ barrels and 5 or so tanks. It was quite amazing to taste the differences in the wines, just on barrel size alone. The varietals we got to taste were not the surprise, so much as the rigor and amount of treatments that Randall had for each wine (which means that Randall has various aging programs for the same juice, why you ask, so that when he blends the wine back together, the 2 levels of oxidation come together to make the perfect wine). Just imagine someone speaking about the wine in a barrel as if it were a child, then they talk about the vineyard it comes from, it’s slopes, soils, irrigation, and how that vineyard behaves. Then he finds the same wine, in some other sized barrel, and we taste that, and then we try the 2 wines together; and then with this blend, and on, and on, and on.. it was awesome as if we were wine tasting with a mad scientist which is almost apropos. But Randall also spoke about terroir and climate and oxidative properties in wines and per varietal and it becomes clear – Randall’s knowledge of wine and how it acts is astonishing. I am sorry to bore you, but yes, it was a ceremony of wine geeks all hovered around their “Leader”, perhaps a bit timid to sound stupid, but all hungry to ask more and more questions.
Later in the video we cut to the dinner where Randall is talking about the wines being “retarded”. He is referring to wines that are sealed with a screw-cap and are only in the bottle 1-2 years. Randall is a believer in screw-caps although he notes that they can present with funny aromas and tastes, early on, but for the long-term he is a believer. Randall, also talks much on how those raw earthy funky smells are indicative of a wine of substance. Randall offered us a vertical of 2001-2007 Le Cigare Volant, and paired it with dinner. The 2003 and 2005 fared very well in everyone’s comments, but there was deliberation. Yet, as the expression goes the difference between a good year and a bad year with good wine – is all shades of grey.
Without further adieu, here is the VineyardVlogVideo below where we bring you along to a virtual “sampling of samples” and to hear some of Randall’s thoughts on his wines.
What a great time and I personally recommend Boony Doon as a wine to know, a brand to be intrigued by, and is lead by a man of great capacity. Thank you Randall
And another special thanks to Seth Johnson (@sommlife) for editing this video, they sure have come a long way!