Saturday, January 9, 2016

Donkey & Goat Wines for Our Tasty Murder Dinner {Tasting Notes}

Every once in awhile you come across a business you just can't help but adore. Donkey & Goat is one of those for me.

First, they are located in Berkeley and I love everything about that town - the food sensibilities, the coffee, everything. It probably has something to do with living there for five years. But we go up there just to eat! My boys are ardent fans of The Cheeseboard Collective and Lush Gelato and are always game to try something new. And there always seems to be something new to try.

Second, Jared and Tracey are passionate about their craft; here's their manifesto. How can you not find people like that deliciously irresistible?

So, when I began to plan a birthday party for one of my best friends, I toyed with the idea of doing a complete Donkey & Goat wine pairing. And because of a shipping debacle during the holidays, Jared generously sent off a replacement package and a few extra wines to try. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so grateful.

The first grader at the dinner party asked me for a pen. And I found this when I was cleaning up... I guess he liked the labels. Or he was just practicing his writing.

With our Starters course, we opened the 2014 Grenache Rosé, Mendocino. Isabel's Cuvée. The wine is made from over century old Grenache Gris wines. And it's pink!

They processed half of the grapes like a white wine; the other half was destemmed and left to soak with the skins on for a day. They bottled unfiltered on in February of last year. Its color reminded me of the almost indescribable color of poached quince - a cloudy, salmon hue. On the palate, it’s light and crisp with medium acidity. I served this with Bacon & Bleu Deviled Eggs and a Bacon and White Bean Dip. Recipes to come.

With our Soup and Salad, we opened the 2013 Roussanne, El Dorado. Stone Crusher.

They have been making this orange wine for about 5 years, when they realized that the skins helped  their natural fermentation finish. Yes, I did write "orange wine." It's not white, or even pink. It's not red. It's really orange. See!

With two weeks' contact with the skins of the grapes, the wine has an alluring hue. It's probably one of the most interesting - and unusual wines - I've ever tried. It's a good way...and toothy. What I mean by that is that it is a mouthful that you savor, almost as if you're chewing it. Don't get me wrong, you don't actually chew it, but it has that food quality, versus typical wine that passes through your mouth without weightiness. I served this with Roasted Parsnip Soup with Crumbled Bacon and Cheese Curds and Salad Greens with a Warm Maple Bacon Dressing

With The Main Attraction, we opened the 2013 Mourvèdre, El Dorado. The Prospector.

The Prospector vineyards are in California's Gold Country. This inky Mourvèdre was almost magical. It's simultaneously earthy and gamey with notes of berries and licorice. I was completely enamored by it. I think I might need another bottle of this one, one I don't have to share! I served this with Roasted Butternut Squash with Pancetta and Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf. Recipes to follow.

The birthday boy commented that the wines were perfectly matched with the foods. Sweet! Thanks, Jared and Tracey. What a fabulous set of wines! I'm even more of a fan now.


  1. How fun. I love wine tasting dinners and using one vintner for all the courses is a wonderful adventure.