The Bunnell Family Cellars 2007 “VIF”
December 20, 2009 by Erin Thomas
A rarity that the wine industry stills holsters close to its heart and main functioning is the concept of “family.”
With the major holidays of the year nearing, this concept is reflected upon, acknowledged, appreciated and even tried. However, I believe it to be an innate human characteristic to have a general, overall draw and respect to the concept of family.
This rarity is held with high honors in the wine industry as well, with the concept being slapped on labels for more than just a marketing ploy, but as a mission statement for the winery itself.
“Family Cellars,” “Family Estate” or “Family Winery” are all titles that are not loosely coupled.
One such story is that of The Bunnell Family Cellars. After harvests spent with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Kendall-Jackson and Beringer, Ron Bunnell branched off on his own to create small lot, hand-crafted Rhone-style gem factory from the greater Columbia Valley and posting up in Prosser. Referring to his specific blending practices, Ron’s wines are “vins de l’esprit,” meaning “wines of the creative spirit.” To take the experience one step further, Ron’s wife, Susan, brings a “culinary flair” to their tasting room with her acclaimed cookery. Together, they offer Prosser an exclusive bon vivant escapade.
According to their Web site, the couple is determined to hand down “a legacy that they have built for and with their children.”
Like the Bunnell family, the grapes Ron chooses to blend with are family amongst themselves. In this week’s selection, the 2007 Columbia Valley VIF, Ron joins the kindred forces of Syrah (60%), Mourvedre (26.7%) and Petite Sirah (13.3%), three varietals that have been together since their birth in the soils.
“Vif” translates into the idea behind this wine as “vivid, lively, bright.”
With only 360-some cases made, Ron gauged the 17 months of barrel time between American and Hungarian oak and it is one of the more prevalent tones on the nose of the wine.
Awesome non-fruit tones come out immediately with thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon, cinnamon spices, tobacco and the above mentioned toasted oak. Bing cherries and chewy, dark fruits come out in good time for a young Syrah-based blend.
The fatty bacon is relentless and moves over to the palate with a meaty, chewy mouthful that is balanced with acid, spice, blackberries and plum.
What’s cool about this wine is that it’s not the blueberry fruit bomb some Washington Syrahs can turn out to be. It’s got character, like most families.
The attack is meat and earth, the midpalate is spice over fruit and the finish has fine tannins with lingering bing cherries, pulling it around full circle to hit up as many aspects as it can.
I’m not going to lie, it had me scratching my head, wondering how exactly this is all going to come together with so much character… Just like my family.
Be our members high-attention-seekers, the mild and sweets, the down-to-earthers and the ones that make you think… Somehow, we all come together to make a family.
Touching? Just reminding you how sweet I really can be… Now go buy this wine.