Bonny Doon’s wine maker Randall Grahm is an all around California Wine OG. In 1989 he was dubbed “The Rhone Ranger” by Wine Spectator because of his mastery of those varietals, types of grapes, normally grown in the Cote Du Rhone of France(Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre to name a few). That spark started a big fire. Because of that, there is actually a group of around 200 wine makers in Cali that are called “The Rhone Rangers” and they are committed to the cause of growing and producing those varietals exclusively. He is also a James Beard Award winning author in 1994 as well as was inducted to the The Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Needless to say, he knows(and makes) great wine.
Today, we are tasting his red blend “Contra.” Some red blends will tell you how much of which grape is in it. Here’s the breakdown: 56% Carignane(Care-in-yahn), 17% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 1% Cinsault(Sin-so). All are Rhone varietals. Those crazy Rhone Rangers.
I’ll break it down into 2 sections: Nose and palate. The nose is obviously the delightful aromas that are going to flood your nostrils and the palate is going to be what you actually taste.
Nose: This wine has huge aromatics. Right after I opened it, there was a ton of smoked meat/bacon, tangy dark cherries and white pepper fighting for attention.
Palate: The depth in this juice is pretty crazy. Right off the bat, that cherry flavor is present and accounted for. It’s followed up by a little brininess(think black olive. Don’t freak out about that, it works beautifully) and a long, juicy finish that has just little hints of cedar after you finish your sip(or gulp). Body wise, it’s definitely not over weight and needing to hit the treadmill. It’s got some sexy curves that could stand up to a rib eye steak or even venison.
After about 30 minutes, flavors evolved to dark cocoa and light cinnamon spiciness.
The next day, if you had any left over, super bold fruit had taken over the spiciness and toned down that cocoa flavor.
Definitely pick this wine up. Great stuff at $17 a bottle and something that can stand up over a day or two. If you are interested in buying it in the Shreveport-Bossier area, email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you taken care of.