In the Culinary Institute of America hangs a bronze sculpture of Randall Grahm. The Vintners Hall of Fame in the CIA, located in Napa Valley, recognizes Grahm and several others for their accomplishments in making California one of the most legendary places in the world for fine wine.
As I strolled through last year, I was thrilled to see Grahm honored in this way. The longtime innovative winemaker and owner of Bonny Doon Vineyard, Grahm deserves every accolade bestowed upon him.
Bonny Doon’s 2018 Vin Gris De Cigare ($18) is an intricate blend of Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Carignane, Cinsaut, Mourvedre, Picpoul, and Vermentino—a touch of something for everybody, one might say!
“Vin Gris De Cigare is the pink analogue of Le Cigare Volant, our flagship wine named in honor of the cigar-shaped alien craft banned from landing in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape by decree of the village council in 1954,” says Grahm, tongue in cheek. He calls it “Pink Wine of the Earth.” With its light-bodied structure, soft texture and mélange of flavors, it’s as voluptuous as a French kiss.
I’m sad to say that Bonny Doon closed its tasting room in Davenport on Dec. 23. But Grahm has quite a spread in San Juan Bautista called Popelouchum, and he hopes to open it up for wine tasting in the near future. Meantime, his wines can be found all over in supermarkets and liquor stores.
Carmel Honey Company
Jake Reisdorf opened his second Carmel Honey Company store on the famous Cannery Row in Monterey on Dec. 3. His interest in honey and beekeeping bloomed when he was just 11. Now 17 and a junior at Carmel High School, he is as busy as a bee making honey and taking care of his hives. Jake’s grandmother Judy Reisdorf, who lives in Aptos, told me about Jake several years ago, but it was hard to imagine then that Jake’s flair for beekeeping and honey-making would become such a successful business.