Donkey & Goat

Berkeley's first natural winery, crafting wines
from sustainably farmed vineyards since 2004.

Tasting our 09 Rhone Whites

With harvest winding down, we have started to spend much more time tasting the wine.

As mentioned early, we made four barrels of Roussanne on their skins. Each wine was made in a different style and now the barrels are each tasting wonderful on their own way. It is popular to classify these wines as “orange” but I don’t actually like the name. The reason, orange suggests a color and ours are clear. Skin contact doesn’t equate to orange color.

We fermented these is 550 liter open top wood fermentors that have beed used for red wines. One was made 100% whole cluster – we just dumped the sorted grapes in. It is currently tasting the most interesting. There is a wonderful combination of clean fruit (carbonic maceration – not cold) and intense tannins.

One was made with Ver Jus to increase the acidity. We do this we our Chardonnay and wanted to see how it would work with the Roussanne. Tasted last week, the acidity is vivid. It leaps out of the glass – almost like something from the Alps. Crisp – reminds me of a cool fall day since there are undertones of earth.

The other two had variable punch downs and each show aspects of the grape and terroir. All 4 barrels show a bit of grapefruit – which is what we see every year. The grapefruit is less intense then in previous years which leads me to a question – have we lost some of the uniqueness of this site by switching to another winemaking style? One could argue that we are intervening less with this style but is that really the case?

I am thinking of calling this wine Stone-crusher (mining term since this is gold country after all) or maybe after a rapid since you can occasionally hear rafters going for an inadvertent swim when in this vineyard.

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