Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and El Dorado appellations. Named one of five "Winemakers to Watch for 2011" by Jon Bonée at the San Francisco Chronicle, Tracey & Jared trained in France, and their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.
We have long felt Anderson Valley Chardonnay does not garner the appreciation it deserves given the other Burgundian varietal is held in such high regard. We have also been searching for a cooler climate Chardonnay vineyard so in the summer of 2009 when we noticed Dave's un- grafted, old Wente Chardonnay vines looked wild and abandoned we poked around. Having become Fukuoka followers we figured why not continue to do nothing in the vineyard (no spraying, no irrigation, etc) and see what happens. Once in the cellar we whole cluster pressed in our gentle hydraulic basket press and allowed the juice to settle in tank for 2 days before we barreled down in 100% neutral French Oak barrels. We then did nothing (no inoculation, or nutrients). In a few days the fermentation began and surprisingly our Malolactic fermentation began and finished prior to primary (which is unusual but not unheard of). The wine stayed in barrel, sur lie until July 2011 when we racked to tank for bottling.
Be warned: this natural wine wins no awards for clarity but will please and even delight when put on the table next to an array of cuisine (oysters, anything with butter, sushi, Chinese, Thai with lighter spices and the list goes on). Aromas of baked green apple, lemon curd and herbal hints are immediate but quickly followed by wet stone and a saline character that speaks to the vines proximity to the Pacific Ocean.