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ARTICLES BY DATE

March 2015

  • SUNSET MAGAZINE

    Collector Starter Kit

    Sarah Schneider, April 2015

    Most wines aren’t meant to age – they’re ready to drink when you buy them. That said, when you move up the price chain a little, bottles tend to promise to get more interesting over time (how much time varies among varieties and vintages – the subject of much debate). The simplest plan: Trust producers with track records, and you’ll be rewarded for your wait. A handful of wines can launch a cellar. Think about the times you wish you had a special bottle on hand – and buy (more than one, to kick-start things) for those occasions.

    A top version of the country’s favorite wine
    Chardonnay will please your out-of-town guests, and well-balanced Chards age well for a few years (Benovia, Lynmar Estate, MacRostie, Red Car, Sandhi, Three Sticks).

  • SONOMA VALLEY SUN

    Making Wine and Realizing Dreams

    sonomavalleysunby Greg Walter
    March 18, 2015

    “…it’s great to be able to write about a winemaker who has been a fixture here in the Sonoma Valley for decades who in the last five years or so has hit some truly high points on the “dreams realized” list.”

    Full Article Here

  • CHARDONNAY

    2013 Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay

    95 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Steve MacRostie’s wines are always focused and direct, allowing the character of the ground and grape shine through. This Chardonnay, from his Wildcat Mountain Vineyard in what could also be labeled Carneros, has an enticing steely, chalky aroma and a palate of crisp spiced apple and pear fruit, with a tinge of citrus and marzipan. Sturdy in structure, it’s elegant and refined, with just enough caramel oak to frame the fruit and add texture.” —Linda Murphy, January 5, 2016

    93 Points, Wine Review Online
    “MacRostie’s Wildcat Mountain Chardonnay from this vintage is a beauty that shows off the fruit while showing tremendous restraint with the use of oak. This wine offers an alluring nose of baking spice and lemon creme, with firm backbone on the palate, exquisite balance and a long finish that exhibits a touch of stony minerality.” —Robert Whitley, December 22, 2015

    92 Points, Wine Advocate
    “The 2013 Chardonnay Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, which I believe MacRostie has been making a long time, is from a site that sits high in volcanic soils on the Sonoma Coast. With a color of light greenish straw, the wine has notes of orange oil, citrus and apple skin followed by a fleshy, full-bodied, seductive and lush mouthfeel. This is the sexiest of the three Chardonnays and the most easy to drink out of the bottle.” —Robert Parker, March 4, 2016

    92 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Another winner from one of my favorite Chardonnay stylists. It’s always about complementing a meal with MacRostie, with this bottling showing the usual crisp, dry style that blooms in the finish and has the acid to cut richer foods. Bright lemon, granite minerality and honey aromas and flavors really burst after the wine leaves your mouth, with lip smacking acidity keeping everything fresh. Try a little spice in your fish or fowl dish next to this — you won’t be sorry.” —Rich Cook, February 9, 2016

    92 Points, PinotFile
    “Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Pleasing aromas of lemon curd, cut yellow apple and nutty oak. Slightly plush in the mouth, with riveting flavors of grilled peach, lemon crème and wood sap. Nicely put together with impeccable harmony and a refreshing charge of lemon goodness on the finish.” —Rusty Gaffney, January 17, 2016

    91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    “From a site planted by Steve MacRostie in 1998, this white sings in complexity and tension, providing tart jolts of lemon verbena, ginger and nutmeg. Complex and elegant, especially in its floral perfume, it drinks voluptuously, full of come-hither ripeness.”
    —Virginie Boone, May 2016

  • PINOT NOIR

    2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

    90 Points, Wine Review Online

    “MacRostie’s Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is one of the best values in California Pinot today. It is made in a lean style, with firm tannins that hide much of the fruit at this stage, but lurking in the background there is plenty of strawberry, raspberry, cherry fruit aroma ready to surface as the tannins soften. If you hold this wine another year or two before opening, you may well be pleasantly amazed.” —Robert Whitley, Jan. 6, 2015

    90 Points, Wine Review Online

    “Rich black cherry and raspberry fruit are complimented with cinnamon, talc, mild dry earth and touches of mushroom make up aroma and flavor profiles in this nicely priced Sonoma Coast offering. Structured acidity and a long finish that shows a bit of damp earth suggests pairing with roasted meats with tarragon, rosemary and sage.” —Rich Cook, Dec. 16, 2014

    89 Points, Wine Advocate

    “The 2012 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast offers plum, cherry and berry fruit intermixed with earth and flower characteristics. This medium-bodied, seductive Pinot has no hard edges, so enjoy it over the next 3-4 years.” —Dec. 2014

  • PINOT NOIR

    2014 Wildcat Vineyard Pinot Noir

    91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    “Earthy in anise and blue fruit, this wine is inexplicably crisp and plush at the same time, showing the allure of the variety in its rose petal aromas. Medium-bodied and velvety, it follows through in cassis and pomegranate flavors.” —Virginie Boone, April 2017

    90 Points, Wine Advocate
    “Pale ruby in color, the 2014 Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir gives notes of Bing cherries, cranberries and red roses with hints of wild thyme, underbrush and black pepper. Medium-bodied, understated and with a pleasantly earthy edge to the palate, it gives a good intensity of red berry flavors and firm grainy tannins, finishing long.” —Lisa Perrotti-Brown, March 1, 2017

  • PINOT NOIR

    2013 Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir

    91 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Light, clear and varietal, this wine is pungent in earth, chocolate, black tea and leather, medium- to full-bodied with remarkable offerings of sage, rosemary and savory mushroom. Cherry and cinnamon add to the intrigue and flavor.”
    —Virginie Boone, October 2016

    94 Points, Wine Review Online
    “I love wineries that stay true to a house style over the years, and MacRostie is definitely on this track, continuing to produce food friendly Pinot Noir with depth and complexity. This vintage of the Wildcat Mountain shows cherry, dusty earth, cinnamon, moderate oak toast and a touch of sea spray that commingle beautifully and remain integrate through the long finish that brings in a zesty character that keeps you fresh. Salmon time!” —Rich Cook, July 19, 2016

    95 Points, Wine Review Online
    “MacRostie’s Wildcat Mountain Pinot from this vintage is a firmly structured beauty that exhibits notes of violets and spice on the nose, with layers of blueberry and strawberry fruit, and fresh acidity that lifts the flavors. It finishes with a touch of leafy earthiness. A stunning wine that will only get better.” —Robert Whitley, June 28, 2016

    92 Points, PinotFile
    “This is an estate vineyard owned by Steve MacRostie and his partners Nancy and Tony Lilly located on a fog-shrouded mountaintop. Clones 115 and Pommard. 100% de-stemmed into small open-top fermenters, 3-day cold soak, inoculated yeast strains, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 43% new. Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The aromas of red cherry, baking spice and sandalwood draw you into the glass. This wine delivers more flavor than the light color would suggest. There is an earthy and feral side to the black cherry fruit, herb and mushroom flavors. The mid palate fullness is pleasant, the tannins are well-matched, and the wine finishes in classy style with panache.” —Rusty Gaffney, June 5, 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

    93 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    This wine is the sum of many spectacular sites—including Ritchie and Heintz Vineyards—some of the cooler climate spots for grapes in the Occidental. Together they sing a tasteful tune that’s salty and demure, with an elegant imprint of green apple, ocean breeze and stone. —VB, November, 2017

    90 Points, Wine Spectator
    Offers clean aromas of fresh-cut flowers, with honeydew, light citrus, peach and tangerine notes holding their own, diminishing ever so slightly on the aftertaste. Drink now through 2020. 954 cases made. –JL, June 15, 2017

  • CHARDONNAY

    2014 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

    90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Defined by its voluptuous body, this wine is also elegantly accented in salted honey and lemon peel, complex and savory on the palate. The finish is marked by ripe apple and juicy acidity.” —Virginie Boone, September 2016

    90 Points, Wine Review Online
    “This is a citrus driven Chardonnay that will work when you want something crisp like an aromatic white, but that has more palate weight and fullness. Lemon, lime and mandarin are all present, joined by a strong mineral streak and baked bread. It seems tailor made to the summer heat.” —Rich Cook, June 14, 2016

    90 Points, The Tasting Panel
    “Smooth and creamy with fresh fruit, tangy acidity and silky texture; bright, fresh and balanced.” —Anthony Dias Blue, May-June 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

    90 Points, “Best of the Year 2015”, Wine Enthusiast
    “From a vineyard site farmed by the Duttons called Matthew’s Station, this is a gentle wine, medium in weight, with nuances of green apple and fresh-squeezed lemon. Balanced, it offers a twist of toffee and oak beneath its crisper notes, finishing warm in nutmeg and ginger spice.”—Virginie Boone, December 2015

    91 Points, Wine Review Online
    “My preferred rich and crisp style of Chardonnay is in evidence here. Fully 15% of the fruit didn’t go through a secondary malo-lactic fermentation, allowing some of the sharper malic acid to keep things bright on the palate without compromising the creamy feel. Tropical fruit, lemon and mild oak spice aromas and flavors and a long refreshing finish keep you returning to the glass.” —Rich Cook, August 4, 2015

    90 Points, The Tasting Panel Magazine
    “Lush and creamy with bright tropical fruit and hints of toasted oak; smooth and rich with tangy acidity and a long finish.”  —Anthony Dias Blue, June 2015

    90 Points, Pinot File
    “Light golden yellow color in the glass. Inviting aromas of lemon oil, lemongrass and buttered brioche. Good fullness of citrus and pear flavor, yet vibrant, with a crisp and refreshing finish. A style that really satisfies.” —Rusty Gaffney, July 14, 2015

  • PINOT NOIR

    2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

    90 Points, Wine Review Online
    “MacRostie has the ability to do more than 70 small fermentations with their Pinot Noir, which makes for a huge palette to select from when blending their appellation bottling. This vintage features just four lots in the final blend, and it shows tart cherry and blackberry fruit alongside notes of tea and dry earth minerality, with bright acidity making it a fine mate for herb crusted salmon or pork.” —Rich Cook, July 26, 2016

    90 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Continuing in the same vein as the exceptional 2013 vintage, MacRostie’s basic Russian River Valley pinot is a shining example of a more elegant, restrained style. It exhibits inviting red-fruit aromas, hints of spice and mouth-watering acidity on the palate. This is a superb food wine and ready to drink now.” –Robert Whitley, July 12, 2016

  • PINOT NOIR

    2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

    92 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Dried herb, forest, berry and black peppery cola combine on the nose and palate to delirious effect, making way for a velvety texture of medium-sized body and weight. Sourced from several vineyards, including some estate, this wine satisfies on every level.”
    —Virginie Boone, October 2016

    92 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Quite seductive and elegant, the MacRostie Russian River Valley pinot had me at the first whiff of violets and spice. On the palate the wine delivers ripe aromas of blueberry, raspberry and plum, with a generous bit of heft. The finish is long and satisfying.”—Robert Whitley, July 5, 2016

    90 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Another winner from MacRostie. Aromas and flavors of black cherry, cola, leaf and moderate oak toast are carried on bright acidity and finish long – I’d give this a little bottle age to fully integrate the oak load and let the fruit speak its full argument.” —Rich Cook, June 21, 2016

    90 Points, The Tasting Panel
    “Smooth and juicy with black cherry and spice; tangy and fresh, balanced and long.” —Anthony Dias Blue, May-June 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2014 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

    90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Light in color and nuanced in oak, this full-bodied beauty doesn’t hold back on richness, allowing plenty of room for an expanse of salted caramel, pineapple and preserved lemon. Layered and robust throughout the midpalate, it lightens up on the intensity through a crisp finish.” —Virginie Boone, November 2016

    93 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Score another fine Chardonnay from Steve MacRostie and winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen. Pear, peach, melon, apple and a touch of vanilla spice ride lively acidity that balances the malolactic texture nicely, keeping the wine fresh and inviting well into the glass. Beautifully stylized!” –Rich Cook, July 12, 2016

    90 Points, PinotFile
    “Sourced from three blocks that are foggy with Goldridge soils. Braughton on Vine Hill Road, Hansen Hill at Dutton Ranch in Graton, and Jewell Ranch also located in Graton. Whole cluster pressed, racked into French oak barrels for primary and malolactic fermentation, and aged 10 months on lees with occasional stirring. 35% of barrels were new. Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon pie, peach, brioche, and kelp lead to predominantly salted apple, pear, pineapple and spice flavors in a sleekly styled wine with bright acidity.” —Rusty Gaffney MD, June 18, 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2013 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

    94 Points, Wine Review Online
    “MacRostie chardonnays have always been among California’s finest. That’s a given. But when you combine the MacRostie skill with this grape variety and one of California’s legendary grape growers, it stands to reason the result will be magic in the glass. The 2013 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is an outcome that was oh-so-predictable. This vintage exhibits an oily texture with notes of lemon curd and pear, notes of baking spice and lively acidity to take the edge off the richness. Beautifully done.” —Robert Whitley, December 15, 2015

    92 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    “This is a hearty wine from a famous place, farmed by esteemed, long-time growers. Apple and pear skin show up first, with a baked quality to the fruit that never gets jammy. The wine stays light and bright despite its full-bod ied nature. Toasty lemon and fig compote finishes things off.” —Virginie Boone, May 2016

    92 Points, Wine Review Online
    “I like the MacRostie style in Chardonnay. It’s not over-oaked or overripe, so the tropical fruit aromas and flavors can speak clearly. Racy, cool climate acidity drives the dry mango and passion fruit flavors forward, and the oak spice and citrus are nicely placed in the background. A long, lip-smacking finish requires a second sip. And a third. Grilled halibut seems like a natural with this one.” —Rich Cook, December 22, 2015

    91 Points, PinotFile
    “Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. A nose with intent, offering scents of lemon oil, white peach, vanilla pod, crème brûlée and a fleeting floral note. Beautifully balanced with juicy flavors of lemon-lime and honey augmented with a deft touch of toasty oak. Highly enjoyable, with a pleasing cut of lemon-driven acidity on the uplifting finish.” —Rusty Gaffney, January 17, 2016

    90 Points, Wine Advocate
    “The 2013 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch, which comes from this iconic site in the heart of the Russian River, shows loads of lemon butter, tangerine oil, quince, a light-straw color with a greenish hue, medium to full body, great acidity and judicious and discrete use of toasty oak. This medium to full-bodied, pleasant Chardonnay should drink well for 3-4 years.”
    —Robert Parker, March 4, 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2014 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay

    92 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “The producer’s original source of Chardonnay, Sangiacomo grapes have figured into this wine since 1987, this vintage of which is astounding in tropical, fleshy layers of elegance, flecks of freshly cut pear providing further succulence. Richly textured, it’s balanced while robust.” —Virginie Boone, October 2016

    95 Points, Wine Review Online
    “The Sangiacomo chardonnay has long been one of MacRostie’s most powerful statement wines, so the stunning 2014 is hardly a surprise. This beauty exhibits inviting notes of lemon oil and baking spice, with fresh acidity that lifts the fruit and cleanses the palate. Among the finest California chardonnays I have sampled this year.” —Robert Whitley, August 2, 2016

    93 Points, Wine Review Online
    “A Chardonnay for lovers of all things lemon. It’s all here–Meyer and Sorrento lemon, lemon crème, lemon zest, lemongrass and lemon blossom with a touch of oak and stone minerality, with a long integrated finish that is a MacRostie trademark. It’s no lemon!” –Rich Cook, July 12, 2016

    92 Points, PinotFile
    “28th vintage making wine from Sangiacomo. This wine is meant to be special, representing only 4% of the fruit that MacRostie gets from Sangiacomo Vineyard. Grapes came from four blocks of Sangiacomo Vineyard: Rich Kiser, Kiser A, Kiser B and a Petaluma Gap site called Roberts Road. Gently whole cluster pressed, racked to French oak barrels for fermentation where primary and malolactic fermentations were completed. The wine was aged on the lees with occasional stirring for 10 months. 12 barrels were chosen, 2 of which were new and the rest used for previous vintages. Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. A ripe fruited wine of great appeal with aromas of fresh citrus, honeysuckle, barrel and buttered popcorn. Defined by lively acidity and lemon-driven flavor, with a slightly creamy texture, a hint of nutty oak, and some finishing length.” —Rusty Gaffney MD, June 18, 2016

  • CHARDONNAY

    2013 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay

    91 Points, “Best of Year 2015” Wine Enthusiast
    “From two blocks of the vineyard, this light, crisp, medium-weighted wine stays refreshing on the palate and remains complex in acidity. Nutmeg dances throughout its soft layers, while the finish burnishes in rich vanilla brioche.” —Virginie Boone, December 2015

    94 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Ho hum, just another stunning MacRostie Chardonnay from the Sangiacomo family’s iconic Carneros vineyard. So true, but also so exceptional given the consistency of this magnificent vineyard near the town of Sonoma. The cool breezes off the San Pablo Bay help the Chardonnay grapes retain acidity and freshness, which is evident in this latest vintage. This one shows nuances of lemon crème and spice, with mouth-watering acidity and a long, lingering finish.” —Robert Whitley, June 30, 2015

    92 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Here is a glass of dry apple pie that will please a big crowd and bring along some self-described fans of the variety to a deeper place – in other words, it’s not just about the pie. Bright lemon crème and soft oak spice compliment the apple character very well, and everything joins together in the long finish. This is my kind of cocktail Chardonnay.” —Rich Cook, July 7, 2015

    91 Points, Pinot File
    “Steve has worked with grapes from this vineyard since his first vintage at MacRostie in 1987. Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of grilled lemon, brioche and caramel lead to a deliciously rich core of fresh citrus fruits including lemon and grapefruit. Very round with sound acidity, and inviting extract on the finish which has the slightest bit of warmth.” —Rusty Gaffney, July 14, 2015

    90 Points, The Tasting Panel Magazine
    “Smooth, lush and toasty with creamy texture and rich tropical fruit; ripe, polished and balanced with a long, dense finish.” —Anthony Dias Blue, June 2015

    Top 100 Wines, Sonoma Magazine
    “Winemaker Steve MacRostie has worked with Sangiacomo grapes since 1987 and can be counted on to produce elegant, nuanced Chardonnays from there. The lush, juicy 2013 has notes of Meyer lemon, green apple, baked bread and oak spice, with a slightly creamy texture and bright acidity.” —Linda Murphy, November/December 2015