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Donkey and Goat “Broken Leg Vineyard” Syrah “The Recluse” (Anderson Valley)
Donkey and Goat is the brainchild of Tracey and Jared Brandt, who spent a year working with red Rhône maven Eric Texier in 2002, before moving to Berkeley and getting started with their own winery. Their facilities are in Berkeley, and they source fruit primarily in cooler vineyard sites in Mendocino and El Dorado counties. The couple seeks to make wines as naturally as possible, using indigenous yeasts and eschewing extraction enzymes and new oak. 2004 was their first vintage of Donkey and Goat. The 2011 bottling of “The Recluse”, from this
cool Anderson Valley vineyard came in at 13.1 percent alcohol and includes three percent viognier, with the wine including sixty percent whole clusters and being raised in a range of one to three year-old barrels. The wine is superb, jumping from the glass in a vibrant blend of cassis, black raspberries, woodsmoke, venison, black pepper, some medicinal syrah overtones, a bit of mustard seed and a lovely signature of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and wide open in personality, with a great core of fruit, suave tannins and a very long, focused and complex finish. As the Brandts also practice a low SO2 regimen for their wines, the projected window of drinkability is conjectural, as this is the first vintage I have had the pleasure to taste their wines and do not have any experience with how their low sulfur wines will evolve with extended bottle age. Excellent wine. 2014-2025+?
2011 Donkey and Goat “Fenaughty Vineyard” Syrah (El Dorado)
Tracey and Jared Brandt also purchase fruit from the Fenaughty Vineyard in El Dorado, that I first became familiar with from tasting some of Steve Edmunds superb syrahs from this source. Their 2011 Fenaughty syrah is a bit cooler in profile than “The Recluse” coming in at 12.2 percent and offering up a more structured wine out of the blocks, but with even more potential for down the road. The excellent and youthful bouquet is a blend of black raspberries, cassis, grilled venison, espresso, stony soil tones, black pepper, woodsmoke and medicinal syrah
aromas. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and sappy at the core, with a tightlyknit personality, superb focus and grip, moderate tannins and excellent length and grip on the still quite primary finish. Give this excellent bottle of syrah a couple of years in the cellar to blossom. 2016-2025+?
VIEW FROM THE CELLAR
July August 2014, Issue 52
In 2006 we made nearly 16 tons TOTAL across 7 lots. In 2014, we tackle that in one day! Thank you for hanging in Angie Chang! Look at that smile and those biceps! Happy and hard working, you are welcome anytime.
11, September 2014
A rare and verbose journal like posting
We are sliding down the back side and how good it feels! Today Jared and I both had fun with new projects. Jared with his Napa Cab for his new label and me with Pinot Gris (as I type sitting on the skins in our new Nomblot concrete tank). We had our biggest day yet (and ever?!). A great big THANK YOU to the marvelous Angie Chang (@) for powering through a monster day: We pressed off Pinot from Broken Leg and Gianoli vineyards. We also pressed (in the DG original basket press) Syrah from the Lightner vineyard and Cinsault from Fenaughty Vineyard. All that was by about 11a. We then moved into crushing 3.2tons of Pinot Gris from the Anderson Valley for my new project (very excited!). Somewhere about 2.2 tons in we broke for lunch: Indus Village with our fall lineup. When not cleaning, sorting or pitching Angie is busy at the fabulous Sonoma Wine Bar in Houston. I will join her October 23 Immediately followed by crushing Grenache Blanc to puncheon, Marssanne and a 3rd with about half each. All Fenaughty Vineyard. About then Lulu MaCallister arrived to taste and check out he new vintage, her pictures are far better than mine! Following that we sorted the remaining about 1.5tons of Fenaughty Vineyard Grenache Blanc and Marsanne into our most fabulous new press and hit the start button. We then immediately and with surprising speed given the hour which was somewhere past 4:30 began crushing 2.4 tons of Counoise from the Fenaughty Vineyard. We had a round robbin game of puncheons as we first sprinkled whole cluster Counoise into the bottom of each before topping it with out 65-70% destemmed fruit. During this time Jared ran to pick up Isabel who at this point is ready to file papers. Not long after they went to pick up Lily who is in preschool conveniently located less than a block from the winery. With both kids back Jared and I proceed to unload a truck of 4.5tons of Fenaughty Vineyard Syrah picked today. At one point I move the 28′ flat bed to the street to make room for the next truck delivery of 3 tons of Fenaughty Vineyard Grenache. I look over to find Lily having climbed the perimeter fence that is easily 8 feet tall. She is near enough the top that I fear she might climb (or fall) over onto the 5th Street side. My neighbors walk by gawking at my filthy 3 year old scaling the fence as I climb out of the cab. Speaking of cab, about now Jared crushes his new project, if memory serves 12 hours after arrival this morning. I finally pack up the girls to head home for the evening as I see Morgan heading to the days last project: pressing Vermentino that has been soaking on skins since 9/4.
Tomorrow I hope to leave by 5:30 to check on the Carignane at Testa I plan to pick Monday and then over mountain via 253 to check in on Perli Vineyard Syrah. The pictures below are from last week so who knows what I’ll see tomorrow!
While gone Jared will lead the crush of Fenaughty Syrah and Grenache, barrel down the whites pressed today and very likely rack Lily’s Cuvee (bubbles) from reefer to tank which means bottling Lily’s is less than 3 weeks away!
Harvest Storm 2014. It is a ball buster!
We were lucky enough to attend this event in 2002 and now our wines will be there.
SL07 – TASTE WORKSHOPS
Wine and Regionality: The Wild Side of California
Thursday, October 23, 2014 – 05:00 PM Sala E
The voluptuous wines that so characterize the California style step down from their throne in this exploration of terroir-driven natural wines. The Golden State is host to a quiet yet tenacious new renaissance evolving outside of the hallowed zones of Napa and Sonoma. Maverick winemakers are emerging throughout the state to produce wines that have been steadily changing the viticultural landscape for the last 10 years. From the Sierra foothills to the heart of the urban Bay Area, American winegrowers are throwing off the shackles of traditional California winemaking by embracing unfamiliar varietals and methods, and striving to present a clear sense of place via the contents of your glass.
MEMBER: € 22,00
NO MEMBER: € 25,00
Join Jared and Tracey for an evening of wine makers behind the bar at Cadet in Napa. More details to follow.
Angie has been helping us (here sorting Grenache Gris) and Tracey will return the favor in late October.
We will be pouring some of our new releases at Wine on Piedmont. Come say hi and taste some great wine.
4183 Piedmont Ave. Oakland, CA 94611
It gets REAL real this weekend when we throw down in true Bay Grape style…
We’re stoked to host four local winemakers pouring their stellar wines (taste all four–a white, a red, a rosé AND an orange wine–for just $20 at the door):
- Donkey & Goat Grenache Blanc El Dorado 2013
- Broc Cellars Valdiguié Solano County 2013
- Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé Dry Creek Valley 2013
- Scholium Project FTP Pinot Gris Kirschenmann Ranch 2013
Plus! At 8:30pm we’ll be raffling off goodies including a holy-guacamole magnum of Knoll Riesling, Gabriel-Glas sexy-as-all-getup stemware, a party-your-pants-off porrón, and a make-your-in-laws-jealous private wine class for four.
Come say hi, taste, and meet the winemakers anytime between 5pm and 9pm on Saturday! (Need not be present to win the raffle prizes.)
See you then.
Stevie and Josiah