“ Brand: Bonny Doon Vinyard / Type: Wine / ABV: 17% „
For most of you who enjoy a tipple, the word "framboise" will surely conjure up images of a fiery fruit brandy, clear in colour and light in flavour, something reminiscent of a Hungarian palinka or some varieties of schnapps perhaps. (Or possibly of something you might use to strip wallpaper with if you have been unfortunate enough to be served a cheap variety). In short, nothing to particularly get me excited and, given the state of one particular palinka I tried out of politeness, enough to have me edging towards bargepole territory.
Bonny Doon Framboise, however, is something entirely different. I was persuaded to try it when a friend bought a glass of it at a restaurant we were eating in, and I liked it so much that I ended up buying an entire bottle to take home with me. I don't know exactly what it is, but a traditional framboise it most certainly isn't; part fruit wine, part spirit, it is clearly made by people who have a deep love of raspberries and a deep respect for the process of fermentation. Served in a long, elegant glass bottle, this framboise is a deep, delicious shade of red with a heady aroma of fruit and just slight undertones of the alcohol beneath it. The bottle is sealed with a screw cap rather than the more prevalent 17th century technology you might associate with wine bottles, but as the manufacturers are at pains to point out, this isn't an inferior closure method - it means your beverage will never be corked and, well, it is easier to open.
=== Tasting Notes ===
Like red wine, Bonny Doon Framboise should be served at room temperature, but unlike red wine it should not be served for casual drinking with a meal. Best served on its own or to accompany a dessert when you have the time to properly savour it, this drink is too rich to be drunk with savoury dishes (and doing so would probably taste decidedly odd). But on to the tasting. For anyone with even a passing liking for raspberries, the flavour of this framboise will make you swoon. Intense and heady, with just the right balance between sweetness and the natural tang of the fruit, this is a dense, smooth and velvety drink that avoids any hint of fieriness. Indeed, at 17% alcohol it is much nearer fruit wine than brandy - but quite unlike any other fruit wine I have ever tried.
While Bonny Doon Framboise will go nicely with fruity desserts and light sponge cakes, this glorious creation best matches (in my humble opinion) anything chocolaty - and the darker and more intense the chocolate, the better the framboise seems to complement it. Just the other night I enjoyed a small glass of it with a warm melting middle chocolate pudding, and the flavour combination was so marvellously consuming I wouldn't have noticed if someone had walked off with the TV I was supposed to be watching. Or cared, for that matter.
===Finding the Framboise ===
The downside is getting a bottle of the stuff; it is made in California, and doesn't appear to be widely available in the UK. I continue to buy mine mine from the local restaurant where I first tried it (Storyteller in Cheltenham if you happen to be local) where I pay around £15 for a 375ml bottle. A fairly hefty outlay yes, but this reflects the quality of the product and the fact that it has to be imported from a single vineyard on the other side of the world; as it is only drunk is small measures, I am quite happy that this is worth every last penny. Bonny Doon Framboise can also be bought online, but given the highly variable delivery costs from different websites, I would advise shopping around if you want to try it (and you should). Some good places to look are www.wine-searcher.com and www.everywine.co.uk.
Highly recommended (if you can find it).