Randall Graham, the maverick founder of Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineyard, takes the path less traveled. For example, he has been known to favor flying saucers and other iconoclastic imagery on his labels. He was also one of California’s early proponents of dry rosés, back when sugary White Zinfandels ruled the pink wine universe. What he knew then was what many know now—dry pink wines are no less legitimate than Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Graham’s 2005 Big House Pink (Big House Wine Company is an offspring of Bonny Doon Vineyard) is a steal at $8 per bottle, as found at Trader Joe’s and other popular retail outlets. An artful blend of Italian and Rhône varietals, it excels with luscious flavors of strawberry, watermelon and clove spice. The palate is impeccably balanced, finishing with refreshing acidity. This is the perfect wine for a spring picnic or barbecue.
P.S. Next time you’re in Santa Cruz, head up coastal Highway 1 to Bonny Doon Vineyard’s tasting room in the namesake wooded hamlet of Bonny Doon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I need not mention that Santa Cruz, picturesquely located at the northern tip of Monterey Bay, is literally the gateway to a golfer’s paradise. To walk the golf path less traveled on Monterey Bay, try Seascape Golf Club near Watsonville.
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