This is the first of a three-part series detailing my conversation with Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm. To see part II, go here. To see part III, go here.
Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm is one of the legends of the California wine business, a winemaker who was among the pioneers in putting screw tops on quality wine, giving wine clever names, and inventing the modern, no-holds-barred wine label.
But Grahm also makes damn fine wine, whether it costs $10 or five times that . And yes, even the man who gave the world the legendary $10 Big House makes pricey wines. He does it with a style and flair that endears him to those of us who think wine is about more than how expensive it is. This is a man, after all, who once gave a speech called “The Phenomenology of Terroir” for a philosophy symposium at the University of California at Berkeley.
Grahm’s windmills, for there is a bit of Don Quixote in him, are the people who pay too much attention to scores, who worry if what they’re drinking is hip enough for them to drink, and who insist that all wine be over-oaked, over-tannic and over-alcoholic because they read somewhere that it’s supposed to be.
Which makes Grahm the Wine Curmudgeon’s kind of guy — especially after one of the first questions he asked me was whether I realized that wine writers were to blame for much of the woe in the wine world.