December 18th, 2015
Donkey & Goat Lily’s Cuvée Pétillant Naturel Chardonnay 2014
Donkey & Goat Winery is owned and operated by Jared & Tracey Brandt in Berkeley, California. They make natural wines from sustainably and organically farmed vineyards in Sierra Nevada, Mendocino and Napa. Lily’s Cuvée is 90% Chardonnay, 8% Roussanne, 2% who-knows. It’s fun, easy to drink, slightly rich, a touch sweet, pleasantly fizzy.
Éric Texier “Adele” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2014
Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In 1992, after years as a nuclear scientist, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…
As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.
Adele is mostly Clairette with the remainder Marsanne, fermented in cement tanks with native yeasts. It rests for about 8 months on its lees, without sulfur, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined. Very little sulfur (25 ppm) is used at bottling. Buoyant and aromatic, with notes of apricots and pears, and a rounded texture punctuated by refreshing acidity.
Broc Carbonic Carignan, 2014, Alexander Valley
Chris Brockway makes site-specific wines out of a “low-wattage” urban winery in Berkeley, CA (the same winery as Donkey & Goat). He produces natural wines, with a minimal SO2. This Carignan is from a 130 year old vineyard on decomposed sandy soils, which make it impossible for phylloxera to survive. These are some of the last remaining self-rooted vines in the state. The wine is made via-carbonic maceration, allowing the yeasts to begin to ferment the grape sugars from the inside out. After fermentation, it rests in neutral oak and concrete tanks for 10 months. This wine is lively, complex, savory and herbal. It’s vibrantly delicious.
Chateau Haut Segottes Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2008
Chateau Haut Ségottes is owned and operated by Danielle Meunier, the fourth generation of her family to oversee this nine hectare estate in the heart of the Saint Emilion appellation. The entire estate is within the Grand Cru appellation, and is planted 60% to Merlot, 35% to Cabernet Franc, and 5% to Cabernet Sauvignon. Although the majority of wines produced in Saint Emillion are Merlot dominant, approximately 65% of this blend is Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc dominance produces a wine that is structured and age worthy. Chateau Haut Segottes spends 18 months in barrel, approximately 20% of which are new. Wines are then bottled unfiltered. Total estate production is about 3,000 cases.