Flying Saucers Welcome

I wish that I was more organized, but I am not. I found another box of wine labels that I had soaked off of the bottles and all of a sudden I remembered that I had been to a winery that I had forgotten about. On our first trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea we had made many day trips to assorted wineries. The problem, if one could call it a problem, is that the area is much more spread out and hence going from one winery to another was more of an adventure. I had a list of wineries that I had wanted to visit, and if per chance we encountered other wineries along some of the back roads that was considered a bonus.

Le Cigar Volant 2000

Bonny Doon Vineyard was one such winery that we visited by happenstance and not by design. I searched for notes from that trip and I could not find any for the winery and I know that we were quite far, from our dinner plans that evening, which would involve quite a cross country drive back. I looked at the web site for the winery, but the buildings were not bringing my recollections in focus. The more that I think about it, I feel that we may have stopped at either a winery that was featuring a fellow winemaker or perhaps a tasting room that featured a couple of wineries. Even your Raconteur can be stumped, and I say this, because the only wines that I bought from Bonny Doon Vineyard were Le Cigare Volant Red Wine 2000. I know it was the end of a long day of driving and tasting, but this wine really pleased me, because there were three bottles of the wine purchased.


Bonny Doon Vineyard was founded in 1983 by Randall Grahm and he was one of the first to embrace Rhone varietals for this area. He even was featured on the cover of The Wine Spectator as “The Rhone Ranger,” which has become a charming nickname for those wineries that have gone down this path. I can understand why I enjoyed this wine so much, when I look back and see that it is the classic Rhone blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and just a dollop of Viognier. I think that I had in my haste of tasting and purchasing thought that the wine was being made for the trend that was popular at the time of cigar smoking, hence the name. In hind-sight I realized that I must have been rushed as I missed the charming little note explaining the name of the wine and Mr. Grahm’s wry sense of humor. The note said “In 1954 the village council of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was quite perturbed and apprehensive that flying saucers of “flying cigars” might do damage to their vineyards were they to land therein. So, right-thinking men all, they passed an ordinance prohibiting the landing of flying saucers or flying cigars in their vineyards. (This ordinance has worked well in discouraging such landings.) Further, any flying saucers or flying cigars that did land were to be taken immediately to the pound.” So by accident I had found some charming bottles of Rhone style wines from one of the far-sighted winemakers of his day.

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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