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donkey and goatDonkey and Goat is a small urban winery in downtown Berkeley sourcing grapes from the Sierra Foothills. They make so called “natural wine”—wine with no additives, native yeasts, little intervention from winemaking tricks of the trade, and as little sulfur as possible. But most importantly their wines are both good and unusual. I enjoyed their soft, spare Mourvedre,  called Twinkle, which drank like a rose but with more flavor and grip. Their Perli Vineyard Chardonnay was so rich and flavorful I just might start drinking Chardonnay again. Eliza was a scrumptious blend of white Rhone varietals. With layer upon layer of texture, it was like drinking a symphony. Their Syrahs were big and muscular.

But the most intriguing wine was the Stone Crusher Roussanne, a white wine allowed to rest on the skins for 12 days during fermentation so it develops tannins and skin-derived flavors. This style is called “orange wine” because the skin contact produces an orange tint.

Ginger-spiced pear and baked apple aromas mingle with pretty, floral top notes. Though the aromas are abundant but a bit shy, the palate is in your face. The skin contact produces an etched mouthfeel of phases. The tantalizing fruit  hints at a lovely weightless quality before the hefty, chewy tannins ravage the mouth ushering in a dry finish with a long slow fade showing tart apricot on the coda.

10 months in neutral French oak.

I’ve never tasted a wine quite like this. Unfortunately, I don’t have a steak in the fridge because I think the pairing would be extraordinary.

Like some wronged and restless spirit this wine is nervy, on the edge, but self controlled.

Like the taut, rumbling undercurrent, and shattered prettiness of Costello’s Dust 2

Score: 90

Price: $32

Alc: 12.4%