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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin MW

Randall Grahm, the irreverent owner of Bonny Doon Vineyard in California, has given a new twist to the notion of terroir by macerating three parcels of his 2001 Le Cigare Volant red with ground-up rock chips' for nine months. The three wines, which total no more than 400 gallons and are experimental at this stage, are part of what Grahm has termed The Rock Quartet', the control sample of Le Cigare Volant being the fourth. Grahm unveiled the revolutionary concept at a tasting for The Circle of Wine Writers in London, not as might be imagined on 1 April, but on 8 April. We're rocking the wines, not oaking them,' he said. The three rock types, all of them taken from vineyards that contribute grapes to the Le Cigare blend, are granite, black slate and nolyo cobblestone. I don't know what to do next,' Grahm admitted, after tasters commented on the marked differences between the wines. I've found something different, but I don't know how to apply it.' Grahm said it is possible that he will release two versions of Le Cigare Volant in future, one with and one without rocks. Asked where he got the idea of his rock wines from, Grahm's reply was characteristically controversial: drugs'.