Founded by Joe Donelan, who now runs the business alongside his sons Cushing and Tripp, Donelan is a small, boutique Sonoma winery producing Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier. Producing just 8,000 cases per year they prize quality over all other factors. They are becoming known for their exceptionally small-release bottlings of vinous experimentations: clonal varietals, site specific variations and the like. This factor has turned them from being a first-class winery into also being internationally recognised for leading this type of small-batch production.
"My two favorite wines included the 2012 Syrah Obsidian Vineyard from Knights Valley. Aged 20 months in 43% new French oak for 20 months, this is a bigger wine at 14.7% alcohol that comes from rather remarkable volcanic soils with shiny, black obsidian rock looking like marble. There is severe stress in these vineyards and the roots force deep into the volcanic soils for nourishment. This wine, from a vineyard planted in 1970s, shows notes of gunflint, camphor, scorched earth and an almost primordial, brooding richness and intensity. Blackberry and cassis are the fruit flavors, there’s some smokiness and lots of thickness and richness. This is a massive, very intense, full-throttle Syrah that should age effortlessly for 20 or more years." 97 Points Robert M Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2014-2047