Sun 15 Dec 2013
If Randall Grahm, proprietor of Bonny Doon Vineyards, were going to tackle cider, his reputation alone would tell us that he would do so in a contrarian manner. Thus was born ¿querry?, a sort of inquiry into the proposition that one could blend pears (58 percent) apples (33 percent) and quince (nine percent) — 91 percent of the fruit from California, 9 percent from Oregon — and come up with a lightly sparkling, low-alcohol beverage that would not only be different from but perhaps better than regular apple cider. Better than? I don’t know about that. Splendid ciders are certainly available. Different from? A definite “yes” to that. Produced in a normal 750 milliliter Burgundy-type bottle, ¿querry? offers a mild, medium gold color and an appealing bouquet that wreathes fresh aromas dominated by apples and spiced pears bound by a mineral cut and a hint of the ephemerally autumnal. This is tasty stuff but quite dry and jazzed by the bright acidity of apples and the puckery, gingery character of quince. Though made in California, there’s something of Yankee spareness and rigor about this slightly austere cider that finishes with a touch of apple-peel bitterness. Nonetheless, it’s surprisingly versatile. I had a glass at one lunch with cheese toast and the following day with scrambled eggs; it was a winner both times, though it seems to me that its supreme moments would be with charcuterie or roasted chicken. 6.9 percent alcohol. Production was 1,639 cases. Drink over the next 12 months. Excellent. About $16.
A sample for review.