2013 Donkey & Goat "Lily's Cuvée" Anderson Valley Chardonnay Petillant
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(11.2% alcohol): Bright, hazy yellow. Ginger- and honey-accented pear and nectarine scents are lifted by notes of Meyer lemon and white flowers. Gently sweet orchard fruit flavors pick up spiciness with air, along with a touch of tarragon. Silky and seamless in texture, with very good finishing clarity and floral-driven persistence. I'd serve this intriguing wine as a companion to fresh goat or sheep milk cheeses or fresh cows' milk blues, like Point Reyes Blue, Maytag Blue or Rogue River Blue. Humboldt Fog Blue, made from goat milk, would also be a fantastic match. This is a petillant naturel wine, colloquially known as "pet nat" in the hipster wine scene, where the style has a robust following. Unlike most bubblies, these wines are made without the introduction of yeasts that create a secondary fermentation, and are bottled (usually under a crown cap, like beer) before all of the grapes' sugar has been converted to alcohol, with their natural carbon dioxide retained. As such, there is often a bit of residual sugar left behind and the wines are usually on the low-alcohol side, as is the case here.
The Donkey & Goat Lily's Cuvée is a lightly sparkling white made from 33-year-old, organically farmed Chardonnay vines of the Cozleman Vineyard in Anderson Valley (90%) with an addition of 10% Rousanne. The juice is fermented spontaneously in stainless steel and bottled when nearly dry. After fermentation completes in bottle and the yeast settles, the bottle is disgorged and the pressure reduces to a gentle fizz. The finished wine is just off-dry and kept under crown cap.