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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+?


July August 2014, Issue 52
John Gilman

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.

Angie Chang (@changie24) pitching Fenaughty Vineyard Grenache Blanc.  Check out those biceps!

Angie Chang (@changie24) pitching Fenaughty Vineyard Grenache Blanc. Check out those biceps!

Beautiful Pinot Gris clusters.

Beautiful Pinot Gris clusters.

Pinot Gris soaking on the skins. So excited!

Pinot Gris soaking on the skins. So excited!

Angie Chang (@changie24) digging out a vat of Fenaughty Vineyard Cinsault

Angie Chang (@changie24) digging out a vat of Fenaughty Vineyard Cinsault

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 (@changie24) 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!


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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

Steve Alden,  owner and grower at Perli, sent us these great shots with his commentary. Hog Pen is our section of the vineyard.


Raccoons on way into Hog Pen Syrah


Nice forked horned buck under plum tree on Fig Tree Road.


Big buck under plum tree on Fig Tree Road.


Group of pigs outside the Hog Pen Syrah, on way up road.


Raccoons coming out of Hog Pen Syrah vineyard with full bellies of D&G Perli Syrah.


Nice boar looking for apples under apple tree on Fig Tree Road.


Skunk looking for a plum under plum tree on Fig Tree Road.

8:54a August 28, 2014 Pinot Noir Harvest

Pinot Gris

Outside of the Napa project,  Tracey has a new project inspired by a wonderful bottle of Weingut Hietlinger’s Spiegeberg.  This will be the first certified Biodynamic grapes for us.

We spent this morning looking at two vineyards in Napa.   Grapes looked great. 


Tracey looking...

We expect to pick in August and September.  

And if you have a great name for us, drop me a line.


While we can’t be sure the exact cause: the warm summer,  rain late in the spring and possibly warm winter all contributed to our El Dorado own-rooted Chardonnay vineyard being ready to harvest this past week.  Half was picked in July and half in August. (July 31, August 1)

Flavors were more developed than I was expecting.  The two days had .5 degree difference in brix with PH staying basically the same.  Seeds were brown and both the minerality and musque components showing nicely.

We pressed with two people pitching,  one sorting and one helping fill the press.  It took 5 loads making for a long, slow day.   Today,  two days, later, we filled our fermentation barrels.   We do this to separate out gross and fine lees in tank.  After a few weeks,  we will add the fine lees to the barrels.  The gross lees were tossed.

The slow processing on Friday  allowed us to more fine tune our usage of the press.   Last year we massively reduced the number of turns.  With our wood basket, we would fluff 3 times at most.  No reason to turn 3 times between each increase in pressure.


On Friday, we discovered that the about of time holding at 1.6 bars (23 psi – so something like an under-inflated car tire), does not measurably increase yields.  The rough graph shows that holding the pressure doesn’t increase yield.

As the harvest season goes on, we hope to really fine tune the press and get the exact results we would like.

Happy Harvest 14