jamie goode's wine blog: Organic, biodynamic and Californian

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Organic, biodynamic and Californian

I've had mixed feelings in the past about the Bonterra wines, if I'm honest. I've enjoyed them without falling in love with them, and I have to admit to being slightly suspicious by the way that Brown Forman (the parent company) have seemed to over-play their organic hand. It just seems like there's a disconnect between big company/corporate marketing strategy and the generally smaller scale organic/biodynamic approach.

But I'm an open minded sort of guy (or, at least, I like to think I am), and so I judged these two wines as I saw them. The Viognier is fantastic, and good value at 10. The flagship biodynamic McNab is quite a serious effort, which I reckon will show brilliantly with a few years in the cellar.

Bonterra Vineyards Viognier 2006 North Coast, California
Organic. Wonderful aromatic Viognier nose showing apricot, peach, honey and lemon. The palate has appealing bright fruit with a nice rich texture. It's apricotty and fresh, with some vanilla. Good concentration: a lovely full flavoured dry white. I'm impressed. 90/100 (9.99 Booths, Majestic [from May])

Bonterra The McNab 2003 Mendocino, California
A blend of 47% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Old Vine Petite Sirah. Initially fruity and a bit oaky, but after a short while this is beginning to show its true colours: there's some earthy, minerally, spicy depth to the ripe fruit. Quite elegant, albeit in a ripe style, with an attractive plummy savouriness. A stylish, well balanced, intense wine that finishes with firm tannic structure, suggesting it has some way to go. I reckon the oak will integrate well with a few more years in bottle, and this has great potential. It's almost like a serious, traditional Rioja in terms of flavour profile. 92/100 (19.99 Vintage Roots)

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2 Comments:

At 1:50 PM, Blogger king bing said...

It's hard to have an open mind sometimes when it comes to Californaian white wines and corporate producers, but I've been surpised by how much I have enjoyed both Bonterra's Viognier and their Sauvignon Blanc too.

 
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