Posts Tagged ‘el dorado’

Californian diversity

February 24, 2015 1 comment

The wines features in today’s post feature a wide variety of styles.  My favorites include the 2012 Klinker Brick, Old Vine Zinfandel, Marisa Vineyard, Lodi with its attractive cherry and Manhattan cocktail flavors, for lack of a better description.  It simply tastes different.  The wine is still young so hold off on opening a bottle for a bit.  The 2012 Lioco, Indica Red Wine, Mendocino County returns with very clean red berry flavors and low alcohol.  The 2012 Mount Veeder Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is well done at a fair price.  It offers a good combination of greenhouse infused black fruit, ripeness, minerals, and structure.  I rather enjoyed it.  Finally, the 2011 SAMsARA, Grenache, Larner Vineyard, Santa Ynez  offers a different take on Grenache, that being a uniquely aromatic nose followed by more tart fruit.   These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Donkey & Goat, Five Thirteen, El Dorado – $34
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, 14% Cinsault, and 10% Counoise that was fermented with indigenous yeast in neutral oak vats.  Alcohol 14.2%.  With only a hint of natural wine aromas, the nose bore higher-toned, citric red fruit aromas.  The mouth followed with red grapefruit flavors at the start.  There was a ripe, citric pith structure and tart flavors in the back of the mouth.  There were ripe, ethereal flavors that puffed up in the finish.  This is a wine for the short-term.  ** Now-2017.


2012 Klinker Brick, Old Vine Zinfandel, Marisa Vineyard, Lodi – $32
This wine is 100% Zinfandel sourced from vines averaging 85 years of age that was aged for 15 months in 60% new American oak.  Alcohol 15.8%.  There was enjoyable fruit from the start that had an incense character with both a little fat and weight.  There was a light structure that brought subtle spices and wet tobacco.  After a few hours of air the fruit developed an attractive core of cherry and Manhattan cocktail flavors.   It had some glycerin to the mouth feel.  Thought it started to unwind with air it should develop in the cellar.  *** 2016-2022.


2012 Lioco, Indica Red Wine, Mendocino County – $22
This wine is 100% old-vine Carignan that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 11 months in neutral oak.  Alcohol 12%.  The red fruit on the nose made way to flavors of tart cherries and eventually strawberry.  The tart red berries persisted with ethereal black fruit underneath and a slightly powdery texture.  Attractive clean flavors.  *** Now-2017.


2012 Mount Veeder Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $27
This wine is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose preceded the mouth with ripe, greenhouse infused flavors of black fruit.  There were powdery tannins, minerals, and a black fruited finish.  The acidity supported the wine which filled the mouth.  It left flavors of tart black and red fruit in the finish along with a little chocolate.  **(*) 2016-2021.


2011 SAMsARA, Grenache, Larner Vineyard, Santa Ynez  – $37
This wine is 100% Grenache which was whole cluster pressed, fermented with indigenous yeast then aged 24 months in 100% neutral French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was fragrant with notes of creamsicle!  In the mouth were clean fruit and almond flavors around a powdery core.  There was some weight to the body and a finish that brought both drier flavors and more structure.  With air the wine developed more minerality that went with the firm acidity.  It took an interesting tart orange, citrus, natural wine bit at the aftertaste.  *** Now-2020.


Donkey & Goat @ Range

February 8, 2013 2 comments

We tried to eat lunch this past weekend at Brian Voltaggio’s new restaurant Range.  While the signs might indicate an 11:30am opening they are still a few weeks away from having the lunch menu fully developed.  So it opens for dinner at 5:30pm instead.  Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like was in town this week.  When he suggested I pick a restaurant for us to meet at I immediately thought of Range.  Somewhere I read about aspirations of a great wine list and being on the DC side of Western Avenue meant it was possible.  I met Frank Morgan for dinner a few nights ago.  They did not seat walk-ins at tables but were able to place us at counter seating which faced one of the kitchen stations.


The space was quite generous so we had no problem angling ourselves to face each other.  The wine list was big and full of selections at all price points.  I immediately picked up on the 2010 Donkey & Goat, Five Thirteen, El Dorado for $44.  I first heard about Donkey & Goat several years ago when a friend left his Donkey & Goat wine carrier bag at my house.  Since then I have heard good things but never managed to try a wine.  Frank had similar feelings so we ordered a bottle instead of studying the wine list.


You are meant to share the plates of food.  There is quite a large variety and our waitress was willing to help us choose.  Actually, she kept trying to get us to order more plates and more expensive ones at that.  But Frank is gently firm so we ended up with terraine, Brussels sprouts, grits (Frank lives in the South of Virginia), bone marrow, Roseda beef tender, and beef heart (a first for both of us) .  Knowing nothing about the actual range of Donkey & Goat wines I started searching and quickly came across a Chateauneuf du Pape reference.  Then it hit me, it must be a blend of five grapes from the allowable thirteen.  Indeed when the bottle was brought out the back states the Thirteen Series is a southern Rhone style blend.  The 2010 Five Thirteen is a blend of 47% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, 10% Counoise, and 6% Cinsault.  The wine is foot-stomped, fermented with indigenous yeasts in wood puncheons, then aged in used barrels.


Modern Burgundy-like stems were placed shortly before the Sommelier Joachim (?) brought out our bottle.  Throughout the restaurant are the chilled wine cabinets where the wine is stored.  The temperature is certainly set to the cold side of cellar temperature.  The ambient temperature of the restaurant was at a cool, yet comfortable setting, but not high enough to warm up the wine.  What was in our glass was cold enough to be muted and to not give up much so we set about trying to warm the bowls with our hands.  This was actually a first for me, being served a wine too cold.  Still, I would rather have a cold red wine than a warm red wine.  The latter of which is far more common.  Perhaps they could have two sets of temperature: a touch warmer for those bottles meant for short-term consumption and a touch colder for those that might age for many years.  Regardless the wine eventually tasted young, fresh, with lots of red fruit.  I did not really pay attention, though, for I was having a great time talking about wine.  Jenn asked if we only talked about wine or did we ever talk about our families.  Sure, I responded, I told Frank about the time our daughter role-played wine tasting with her friend.