Donkey & Goat "Calleri Vineyard" San Benito Negrette
Donkey & Goat "Calleri Vineyard" San Benito Negrette

Donkey & Goat "Calleri Vineyard" San Benito Negrette

California, United States 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$35.00
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Donkey & Goat "Calleri Vineyard" San Benito Negrette

The story of Donkey & Goat is the ultimate “new California” narrative: Jared Brandt and Tracey Rogers established their winery in the “urban” confines of Berkeley, California, paving the way for neighbors like Broc Cellars and Vinca Minor (there’s now a whole “wine block” in Berkeley to explore). The Donkey & Goat model was/is that of a “micro-négociant,” i.e. a vintner who doesn’t own vineyards but instead contracts with established growers, with whom they collaborate closely. This bottling speaks not only to the deep immigrant history of California wine (somehow, the Négrette grape found its way to California’s Central Coast and retained a small foothold there, despite having nearly gone extinct), but the need for upstart California producers to think outside the box if they hope to produce affordable, interesting wines. Donkey & Goat has mastered the latter!

This wine is made in Berkeley, California, but, as noted on the label, its source “terroir” is the Calleri Vineyard in San Benito County, which sits about 30 miles inland from the cool Monterey Bay. The site, which is planted to an eclectic assortment of varieties—including Falanghina, Aligoté, Mourvèdre, Sagrantino, and yes, Negrette—is bordered by a few small streams and is described as a broad “alluvial fan” containing a mix of sandy and gravelly loam soils.

This is a very authentic and accomplished representation of the variety as grown in California (the Négrette vines in the Calleri Vineyard were planted in 1992). This wine was fermented on wild yeasts in terra cotta amphorae over the course of 12 days, with roughly 10% of the whole grape clusters left intact. It was aged for seven months in “neutral” French oak barrels.

As we’ve noted previously, Négrette is a variety with a very evocative name: It tastes a little like it sounds, with lots of black fruit and a hint of peppery spice. It is, however, silky and perfumed rather than rustic, with a medium ruby hue and a nice mix of sweet and savory—small, dark berries and black plums are dusted with dried herbs, baking spices, and underbrush. The makers suggest a Oaxacan mole as a pairing and we’re not inclined to argue!
Donkey & Goat "Calleri Vineyard" San Benito Negrette

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