Donelan Family Wines Fall Release 2023
We hope you’re feeling uplifted by all the sights, sounds, and traditions. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” and every year it proves to be true. Seasons of change, like spring and autumn, have a connection with living things that is as old as time itself. The temperature drops and our routines shift in harmony. Just as squirrels bury their harvest, deer mark trails, and beavers finish their dams, we plant winter gardens, chop wood, and fill our homes with ciders, stews, and pies. However mundane it may feel to start wearing sweaters again or put on snow tires, it’s a wonderful reminder that Mother Nature is always at the center of our lives.
At Donelan, two events signify that fall has arrived. The first is harvest, which we are in the middle of right now after one of the coldest, rainiest growing seasons in decades. Things are moving slowly, a luxury we are not used to being afforded, but the fruit is looking beautiful and the 2023 wines will be a special vintage. The second event is more of a tradition and is what brings us to writing this letter every year: Fall Release. We’re thrilled to offer you six gorgeous new wines that complement the renewed energy of autumn.
Our Fall Release begins with the 2021 Venus Roussanne-Viognier. Although the 2021 is a youngster that will do well with an hour-long decant, it has great brightness and flavor. This vintage has the lowest amount of Viognier that we’ve made in a while, but it still shines through on the nose with a perfume of ripe apricot. On the palate, the Roussanne’s decadent but composed richness embodies orange marmalade and freshly baked almond torte. The 2019 Cardiac Hill Syrah is the first of our new red wines. As you can imagine from the name, this 96-point Syrah grows on a steep, rocky hillside which gives the fruit a muscular firmness. The tannin is voluptuous but never too drying, letting you take in juicy layers of lardon, Santa Rosa plum, and charred beef.
Next is the new 2018 Cuvée Keltie Syrah. Made with 100% whole clusters from shy-bearing spots in our Syrah sites, this vintage is full-bodied with a saturated palate of mature tannin. Keltie represents the more brooding, savory side of Syrah and displays notes of dried orange peel, nettle tea, petrichor, and graphite. It has solid structure that will keep it aging for a very long time. Our Pinot selection this season is a returning star, the 2018 Two Brothers. We love this wine, especially for the coming holidays. It’s driven and juicy with great length, respectful acidity, and a delicious bouquet of cardamom, bing cherry, cinnamon, and strawberry. Pair with your best duck or quail recipe. Lastly from the 2018 vintage is our new Cuvée Moriah. Antonio Galloni of Vinous said this might be our best edition of Moriah yet. Where the Grenache brings the energy, the Mourvèdre brings the weight, creating a striking and rich interplay of black pepper, raspberry liqueur, dusty soil, and acidity. Winemaker David Milner recommends it for a great Thanksgiving turkey wine.
Our Library Selection this season is the 2014 Cuvée Keltie Syrah, a remarkable example of site selection and careful attention in the cellar. This 99-point wine is an explosion of dried tobacco, espresso bean, hot fudge, sweet petrol, and fresh rye bread on the nose. Mellow tannin, blackberry, and cured meats on the palate. At nearly ten years old, this Syrah has reached a wonderful point in its life where it can be enjoyed on its own or with a table full of food.
As always, our greatest hope is that you’ll make memories while drinking Donelan Family Wines. Enjoy our fall selections with friends and family as you take in the new season. Drink them around a fire, as you carve pumpkins for Halloween, as you prepare hearty home-cooked meals, and during your favorite fall holidays. Cheers!