''Our Chardonnay doesn't taste like pineapple, and it shouldn't.''
-Tracey Brandt, on their Chablis inspired Chardonnay.
Attempting to escape the madness and the fast pace of New York, I found myself on a very gloomy Wednesday, taking the Amtrak north to The Berkshires. I had a few plans and a dinner for my fathers birthday, but didn't imagine I would run into Tracey Brandt from Donkey and Goat Winery. My good wine pal Caitlin Harrison (who worked some days in their winery a few years back) invited me over to Great Barrington, Ma for a quick tasting with Tracey and Amanda Schark of Charles River Wine Co, who will be distributing the wines for Massachusetts.
Located in Berkeley California, Donkey and Goat Winery is owned and operated by Tracey and her husband Jared Brandt. They produce french influenced natural wine that are some of the best California wines I have tasted, as far as my palate is concerned.
The 2010 Sluice Box was brilliant, a blend of 62% Marsanne, 25% Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc, and 18% Vermentino. Thick, almost milky on the palate with notes of lemon peel and a beautiful easy drinking acidity. They now have enough Vermentino planted to bottle it by itself and they are pondering a 50 case production varietal wine... I say YES!
The 2010 Chardonnay will be the last bottling from the Brosseau vineyard in Monterey, which was the south most source for their wines. The limestone rich appellation was the original purpose for sourcing the grapes there, to produce a Chablis style Chardonnay. This was one bad ass wine, the best part was that you still tasted California in the glass, but just not in a buttery, messy kind of way. Luscious, a touch spicy and almost full body but with a zippy acidity as if a frenchman were trotting through the vineyards of Monterey. Tracey said they have already found new Chardonnay vineyards that will be much more accommodating for future production.
Above, is the Five Thirteen Chateauneuf-du-Pape style red blend. They use five of the thirteen permitted grapes in Chateauneuf: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Cinsault, a perfect spring and summer grilling kinda wine. Thanks Tracey and Caitlin, it was truly an amazing tasting and dinner chatting about wine and travels!