It’s true, the grape doesn’t fall far from the vine. Following in Jared and Tracey’s footsteps, I am now here in the Rhone Valley of France working with their former mentor, Eric Texier. This being my first time in France, I have finally gained exposure to the magic of Old World wine. The intricate world of wine here in France can feel overwhelming at times, but working at A Donkey and Goat last year prepared me well. Through working the vendange (harvest) here, I have realized the important traditions that Jared and Tracey brought back with them to the winery in Berkeley: focus on terroir, natural winemaking methods, striving for complexity, and evaluations based on taste.

With harvest still upon us, we have been hustling and bustling, picking and crushing. This complete immersion in French culture has transported me far away from life back in Berkeley, but a nice quiet Sunday afternoon chez Texier brought a little taste of home…literally. As the rain pitter-pattered down on the roof, I sat down with the family for a leisurely lunch. Pot-au-feu avec du poulet (chicken stew), fromage, and tarte aux figues (fig tart) paired perfectly with A Donkey and Goat’s 2004 Vieilles Vignes Syrah. Of course, I had tasted many a D&G wine (it was part of the job, after all), but I had never tasted the first vintage. Robust and peppery but with a hint of vanilla on the finish, I was very impressed with such an early release. If you managed to delay gratification and save the 2004 VV Syrah as well, I can vouch that it is drinking very well at the moment. Sante!