Donkey & Goat Gadabout White Blend

One thing I love about Instagram is that I’ve made all of these internet friends. I’ve never met most of them IRL and I don’t even know many of their names, but I feel as though I know them because I’ve seen their lives play out on my phone screen. This has become especially true of the wine community in Kansas City. I’ve started interacting with so many wine lovers and wine professionals in the city, most of whom I’ve never met but constantly chat with on the Gram. One of my Insta-friends posted about a natural wine tasting at a local liquor store I had never been to but was within walking distance of my office. I decided I had to go.

When I showed up, I was glad I did because I saw a host of wines, some of which I had had before and loved (Dufaitre Gamay, for instance) and ones I had been dying to try. One such wine I had been dying to try was the Donkey & Goat Gadabout white blend. I had read extensively about Donkey & Goat’s sustainable practices and interesting blends but had a hard time locating their wine in the city. I was contemplating ordering some online but that shipping fee is a bitch! Also, I didn’t want to take the chance of it sitting outside in a box in the Kansas July heat. So I was thrilled to see it was in the tasting line up and available for purchase!

Donkey & Goat is owned by Tracey and Jared Brandt who are pioneers of California natural winemaking. They make small batches of wine without filtering or fining anything and list the ingredients on the bottle. What’s not to love? Gadabout literally means, “a person who travels often or to many different places, especially for pleasure.” This was music to this hedonist’s ears. I’ve often told people that I work to live, not live to work. I am lucky enough that I absolutely love my job, but I am not one to put in 50-60 hour work weeks. I enjoy my time off immensely and I think I am a better worker for it.

You can tell the wine is unfiltered as it appears fairly cloudy. I for one love unfiltered wine and find it to be way more interesting and funky than its filtered counterpart. The bouquet of the Gadabout is so subtle, smelling of ginger tea and a used bookstore, more specifically The Dusty Bookshelf, my favorite bookstore in my college town of Lawrence, Kansas. On the palate it is super floral, tasting of fresh jasmine and pear blossoms. I think I would be my happiest if I could take a bottle of this into The Dusty Bookshelf, sit on one of their worn chairs with Alice, the cat, on my lap, reading a book and drinking this wine.

One of my favorite movies is Before Sunset, part of which takes place in a Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. Independent used bookstores always remind me of that movie and make me nostalgic for the first time I watched it in high school. It’s kind of the perfect film, in my opinion. It takes place in real time and is basically just a filmed conversation between two people who may or may not be in love with each other (watch and find out…) There is little background music and you quickly get lost and the film and then, like that, it’s over.

The Gadabout makes me nostalgic for walking the streets of Paris with my lover which I have never even done, so it’s powerful shit. I know I’ll make it to Paris someday with my lover in tow; I took seven years of French for Christ’s sake. But until then, I can sip Gadabout and watch Before Sunset, dreaming about being a gadabout myself and traveling often or to many different places especially for pleasure.

A photo I took at a local bookstore today.

A Guide to Day Drinking

This is my most sacrilegious post thus far. I’d apologize, but I don’t really care. If you’re a rabbi or super religious Jew, maybe just skip this one.  

The cool thing about working for a Jewish agency is that you get a ton of random days off throughout the year. I mean, they aren’t random, they are for Jewish holidays. But when you aren’t the most religious Jew, you can just sleep in and chill most of the time. This week happens to be Shavuot. Here’s the extent of my knowledge about Shavuot: we eat cheesecake. Also, maybe some people tried to kill us thousands of years ago and we survived or something. I don’t know, that’s just a guess but it’s usually the case.

 I reached out to my friend Andrew, who also works for a Jewish agency and is probably even less religious than I am and I asked if he wanted to day drink one of the days we were off. His response was “you had me at shalom.” So yes, he was down. He also informed me that he thought Shavuot was actually a celebration of the harvest ending, or something, and that people do some sort of two day party/rave (sounds Biblical, right?). Let’s go with that! 

Here’s the first thing you should know about day drinking, you need to be careful what you choose to imbibe. You want to steer clear of anything with too much alcohol because you’ll be shitfaced by 3:00 and hungover by 7:00. I recommend going with a white, rosé or even a light-bodied red since these will all be lower in alcohol than, say, a big fat Cab (which I do love in the right time and place). Here’s the other thing about day drinking, weather permitting, it should be done outside. Whites, rosés and lighter-bodied reds are going to be better outside anyway, because you know you want something chilled, if like me you’re day drinking on a warm, midwestern late spring day.  

I decided to go with a sparkling wine and light-bodied red. The sparkling wine I chose is the Pét-Nat from Field Recordings. Please don’t ask me to tell you the scientific definition of pétillant naturel (Pét-Nat) because I’m terrible at chemistry and in fact was kicked out of AP chem as a senior because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. However, I do know that it is a naturally sparkling wine that continues part of its fermentation process in the bottle, thus creating a funkier, and sometimes more volatile, finished product. Field Recordings’ was the first Pét-Nat I ever tried. Actually, I found it at a different wine shop than I usually go to and had to deal with a real mansplainy dude to get it. He tried to convince me that all sparkling wine is pétillant naturel if it’s made in the Méthode Traditionelle and I was like “Uhhhh I don’t think so?” Don’t make me question myself just cause you’re a pretentious Somm.

 I know I’ve mentioned that I am more of a red wine drinker, but I could seriously drink Pét-Nat everyday, especially when it gets warm out. There is something about the funkiness to it that I just find so delicious. It’s also easy to throw back, which is perfect for day drinking. Like I’ve alluded, it’s super interesting with a barnyard quality and a brackishness to it. It smells like apple cider vinegar, in the best way. Like when you’re trying to be super healthy and take a shot of ACV every morning. It almost tastes like a ginger kombucha, which I love and also freeze dried mangoes. It is so effervescent and lovely and so unlike any other sparkling wine out there.

 The red wine I chose is a biodynamic Gamay from Didier Montchovet and imported by Jenny & Francois. Didier Montchovet sounds super dope. He started his vineyard in 1984 in Bouze-les-Beaune, a town in the Burgundy region of France and uses sustainable practices to produce his wines. This Gamay is so fruit forward. It kind of smells like barbecue but tastes like the pith of a grapefruit rolled into the pit of a plum, with black liquorish at the end. It’s even got notes of black cherry warheads, if you remember those. It is so full and lush and tastes amazing lightly chilled. It is perfect for porch-sitting with a friend or even on your own.

 So here I am, lightly buzzed and watching Transparent with Andrew while we sip La Croix. We also just tried a baby pineapple and a passionfruit because I am trying this new experiment where I buy strange fruit and eat it to hopefully expand my palette. Day drinking is super fun, especially when you can do it with a friend on a random holiday. Again, I highly suggest going with a lower alcohol wine like a white, rosé or light-bodied red so you can keep your wits about yourself at least until it's socially acceptable to really let loose. The wines I chose did not disappoint. They were light but energetic in two totally different ways. So go forth and day drink!

Note: Here 's my mom's take on Shavuot: "Shavuot celebrates when God gave the Torah at Sinai and the Jewish people accepted it. It is a pilgrimage festival and everybody used to go to the Temple to drink wine. You had the right idea all along." Thanks, Mom!