With our Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay we often want for more zippy acidity but the exceptional minerality from those limestone soils keep us firmly rooted in the Chalone Appellation. To compensate, we use an ancient winemaking technique we discovered in the Mâconnais that is also practiced with German Rieslings. At or near veraison we pick some very green Brosseau Vineyard berries from our block. We de-stem, crush, press, filter and then refrigerate until we harvest the bulk of the block in September. At harvest, we blend in a little of the ver jus which naturally increases acidity, lowers alcohol and results in a more complex and vibrant Chardonnay.
Crushed wet stone, lemon rind, green apple and petrol grab your attention immediately. This elegant
and highly focused Chardonnay is unlike most of its domestic peers. It will dance across your palate with lemon zest and pear and the bracing acidity makes this a fabulous companion to anything with butter and all creatures from the sea (think oysters).
Donkey and Goat Winery
Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Tracey & Jared trained in France, under Éric Texier, an up and coming Rhône winemaker who taught them the art and craft of making wines that speak to the soul about the earth from which they originate. Their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.
They make their wines for the table not the cocktail glass. They make Rhône varietals in both colors plus an atypical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir true to the varietals nature, striving to make wine as naturally as possible and done so since day one.
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The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.