2015 Donkey & Goat "Linda Vista Vineyard" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Bright, vaguely hazy yellow. High-pitched Meyer lemon and pear aromas show suave jasmine and zesty mineral nuances. Silky and precise on the palate, offering bitter citrus pith, pear skin and honeysuckle flavors that deepen and expand with air. Shows a hint of iodine on the penetrating finish, which lingers with excellent, mineral-driven tenacity. The wines from this winery are always some of the most interesting bottlings from California that I taste. Made in minimalist fashion, without sulfur additions and usually with long macerations followed by bottling without fining or filtration, they are definitely not for those who demand squeaky-clean, by-the-numbers winemaking. That said, I don't recall any recent Donkey & Goat wines showing excessive funk, gaminess, oxidation or re-fermentation, all qualities that I think plague too many wines made in the "natural" fashion. The white wines can be wild and hazy guys but not in the scary biology-experiment way that makes so many "natural" white wines resemble cider or Gueuze beers, or even just garden-variety vinegar. (JR)
From a fine site farmed by Steve Matthiasson, this crisp, delightfully compelling white is tart and tangy in orange and lime. Tight and youthful, it shows complexity and concentration while a steely elegance weighs in, ultimately allowing the wine to show an elegance of site and style.
Native yeasts, neutral barrels, no additives, and hands-on, small fermentations—that's the Donkey & Goat way, at this boutique urban outfit located in Berkeley, right across the Bay from K&L San Francisco. From the winery: "Grown in alluvial soils from the nearby Dry Creek in the West Oak Knoll area which is one of the more prestigious and classic spots for Chardonnay. The Linda Vista Vineyard is planted in alluvial soils from the nearby Dry Creek in the West Oak Knoll area which is one of the more prestigious and classic spots for Chardonnay. The vineyard that won the famous Paris tasting in 1976 is just behind Linda Vista. There is a beautiful tension in this wine resulting from the interaction of the cooling influence of the Bay and the generous Napa Valley sunshine."