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