Stopped at the amazing little winery in a stone-walled garage/cave on the main drag in Auburn (rode from Roseville via the beautiful, if hilly, foothills eas tof Lincoln!) Bonitata Winery
now, for the last two+ years.
Anyway, he made an interesting red blend called The Naked Bottle Mystery Wine. Usually I dislike these kinds of cutesy-named wines because they disguise bulk wines and are basically gimmicky marketing ploys that taste like cherry koolaid! THIS blend was Aglianico, Nebbiolo, and a majority of foothills Petit Verdot! Blasphemy! It was quite delicious. There was a nice hit of cherry fruit up front (Aglianico), and the Nebbiolo added some acid and structure, and a mouthfull of earthy, savory licorice and blackberry from the PV. Definitely a hint of funkyness going on. A friend and I actually finished the bottle that night! Nice surprise. Donkey and Goat Recluse 2011 Pinot Noir...
Delicious. Simply delicious. Light color. definitely on the natural wine side of the flavor spectrum, with blazing acidity and lovely cranberry-cherry-earthy-funky fruit. Yum! Donkey and Goat 2010 Perli Vineyard Syrah
(El Dorado County) This was a rich and volutuous syrah. Dark boysenberry fruit, fine acid and tannic structure. Mouthfilling fruit. Earthyness. Definitely some D&G funk going on, but that fruit was simply beguiling! Piquentum 2009 Red Wine
(Teran grape) Croatia. Blue Danube Imports. A first for me (Croatia). Native yeasts, and this definitely tastes like a "natural wine". Lean, somewhat tart red fruit...cranberry, earth, a lot of black pepper. Reminds me of a very lean Northern Rhone Syrah. Went well with red meat! Jon Hilliard and I enjoyd it...His fiance, less so (she found it "sour" I guess I like tart wines!) 2008 Clos du Val Stags Leap Cabernet.
I know it is becoming too expensive, and the place is too popular for its own good
but damn...this was a nice taste of California Old School Cabernet. Rich, mouth-filling but earthy licorice flavors. Beautiful acidity. Some good structure. Pyrazines add fine freshness without making the wine "green". I last tasted this wine about six months ago, and it has really blossomed (the green notes have receded into being a supporting element instead of dominating). Fantastic stuff!
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach