Transparent amberish garnet. Not perfectly clear and possibly even some tartrates. Deep lanolin just this side of earthy runs a carpet-burn, galvanized pipe stream quickly through your nose, thinning rapidly to express the more salient portions of the grape. Sweet fruit finally settles in, swathed comfortably in the dull crispness of a fresh wool blanket.
I think this guy is probably a brilliant winemaker. Either that or he’s an idiot. You can never tell with natural wine makers. I mean–who’s to say the wines are good or bad?They scream about typicity in a field saturated with what we have been told is varietal stability for decades. And these wines have pretty delicate varietal fruit like none we have ever seen from these varieties. They scream about terroir in a field saturated with what we have been told is terroir for decades. And their terroir has sweaty, sexy edges to them, not so much earthier, but livelier in the true sense of living. They scream about manipulation in a field saturated falsely with images of horse-drawn virginal barefoot grape-trodders, and the wines come out clean and fresh. What he’s DOING is probably going to forever keep him popular with a small–but growing–demographic. But I know a lot of us hope it will have an impact. Maybe in 20 years we will look back and wines like this will be the norm? Big flabby bruisers will have gone the way of the dodo bird and the conservative christian and these wines will be far less hard to find. I’ve had several of these now… I really like the whites… I wasn’t a huge fan of a couple of the reds… until now. This Grenache has pretty much wooed me.
In the mouth, just absolute candy. Not so much sweet, but straight candy. Not big delectable confections, no! Fun candy. Cheap candy. Hard, granular, novelty candy. The kind of candy 9-year-old boys buy. Candy vaguely marketed under the flavors of ‘fruit’, but driven by shocking juxtapositions of acid in the mouth. Sweet Tarts and Skittles and Pixie Stix and Jaw Breakers. The fruit is just so light and… candied! Not Zinfandel candied or Jelly Belly candied or jam & jelly candied. It’s not deep, it’s not concentrated. It’s saturated through-and through but light, zingy, beautiful. And nothing’s out-of-place in this wine. There’s nothing perfunctory about it. It has the innate ability to lift effortlessly, from the initial round jasmine through all that gummy-bear fruit through the slight flat-cola transition to raspy tannins.
This wine just fucking straight-up makes you smile.
2016 DONKEY & GOAT Grenache Noir El Dorado Sierra Foothills California 13.2