2018 was a wonderfully cool vintage, providing us grapes with great natural acidity and a real vibrancy of flavor. The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch note (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruits (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh, and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend changes (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘18 still certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.
“Randall Grahm’s ever-evolving ideology shifted again for the new label and blend of this bottling, which includes 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault and 13% Syrah. Aromas of plum, cracked pepper, crumpled carnations and dried mint lead into a bright, refreshing palate of hibiscus, anise and a curry-like spice.” –93 Points, Wine Enthusiast