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Donkey and Goat Fenaughty Vineyard Syrah 2011

Syrah/Shiraz from El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
    12.2% ABV
    • WE91
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    12.2% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Tobacco, earth and herbs intermingled with violets grab your olfactory immediately. With a moment to breathe mineral, fresh meat and spice box come to the fore. Red fruits like cherry, plum and raspberry tickle the palate. Long, firmly structured yet smooth tannins coat the mouth and linger for minutes while you ponder what this wine is and what it will become.

    Wine Enthusiast awarded the previous vintage 97 points in their November issue and then deemed it the #8 wine in the world to cellar as part of their Top 100 Cellar Selections! We like the 2011 even better (honest, we are not just saying that!).

    Critical Acclaim

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    Donkey and Goat

    Donkey and Goat

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    Donkey and Goat, El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
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    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.

    El Dorado

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    As home to California’s highest altitude vineyards, El Dorado is also one of its oldest wine growing regions. When gold miners settled here in the late 1800s, many also planted vineyards and made wine to quench its local demand.

    By 1870, El Dorado County, as part of the greater Sierra Foothills growing area, was among the largest wine producers in the state, behind only Los Angeles and Sonoma counties. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking was totally abandoned, along with its vineyards. Some of these vines still exist today and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.

    El Dorado has a diverse terrain with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,500 feet, creating countless mesoclimates for its vineyards. This diversity allows success with a wide range of grapes including whites like Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as for reds, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Barbera and especially, Zinfandel.

    Soils tend to be fine-grained volcanic rock, shale and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nights are cool and the area typically gets ample precipitation in the form or rain, or snow in the winter.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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    Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

    In the Glass

    At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

    Perfect Pairings

    Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

    DOGFENSYR_2011 Item# 129083