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April 2020

  • Restaurant Wine Review of MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

    Restaurant Wine 

    by Ronn Wiegand
    February 2020

    2017 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 4 Stars: Excellent quality for its type, style, and price. Among the very best of its type for its price. Highly recommended

    “Screw cap. Excellent: supple and finely flavored, this Pinot Noir is a crisp, balanced wine, with rose petal, cherry, red currant, black tea, and oak aromas/flavors, and a long finish. Shows a bit of tannin; can develop further. Fine value.”

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – 3+ Stars: Very good quality for its type, style, and price. Has distinctive character and positive attributes. Recommended

    “Screw cap. A full bodied, crisp Sonoma Coast Chardonnay of very good quality. It is round, delicately flavored (pineapple, white peach, lime, toast, roasted nut), balanced, and lingering on the finish. Very good value; will develop with modest aging.”

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  • Fodor’s San Fransisco – Napa and Sonoma – Healdsburg Sights

    Fodor’s Travel San Francisco

    by Daniel Mangin 
    Published 2020

    MacRostie Estate House

    “A driveway off Westside Road curls through undulating vineyard hills to the steel, wood, and heavy-on the-glass tasting space of this longtime Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producer. Moments after you’ve arrived and a host has offered a glass of wine, you’ll already feel transported to a genteel, rustic world. Hospitality is clearly a priority here, but so, too, is seeking out top-tier grape sources-30 for the Chardonnays, 15 for the Pinots – among them Dutton Ranch, Bacigalupi, and owner Steve MacRostie’s Wildcat. With fruit this renowned, current winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen downplays the oak and other tricks of her trade, letting the vineyard settings, grape clones, and vintage do the talking. Tastings, inside or on balcony terraces with views across the Russian River Valley, are all seated.”

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  • 2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – 91 Points

    Wine Review Online 

    by Rich Cook
    April 28, 2020

    Another fine Chardonnay from one of my favorite producers. This multi-vineyard wine shows winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen’s talent for blending, showing nice range from apple and citrus notes to more tropical suggestions of pineapple and mango. A creamy mid-palate and a crisp finish make this a glass I could swirl and sip all day, or pair with a salmon in cream sauce. Well done!”

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

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  • The Best Wines For Springtime’s Bounty Of New Foods

    Forbes.comMariani’s Virtual Gourmet Newsletter 

    by John Mariani 
    April 23, 2020

    “I’m not fond of people who serve me produce out of season, like the tasteless, sinewy asparagus people eat all year long and tomatoes that were picked in the middle of January. I therefore look forward with baited breath to what springtime brings to market, and I love nothing more than to match up wines appropriately. Now’s the time for strawberries, radishes, peas, arugula, basil, mint, fennel, morels, apricots, cherries, dandelion greens, fava beans, fiddlehead ferns, new potatoes and rhubarb to come out. (Artichokes are also in season but, despite the earnest efforts of  some wine writers to match them with wines, none really work.) And spring lamb is readily available and at its best. Here are some wonderful match-ups.

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

    At 14.5% alcohol, this is considerably more powerful than most Chardonnays, even from California, but, if you like this style, with pronounced oak and vanilla, this well-priced Sonoma example is your best choice for lobster with clarified butter, bluefish and soft-shell crabs.”

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  • Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide

    by Virginie Boone
    May 2020

    2017 MacRostie Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

    “From a high-elevation coastal site, this wine is dazzling in juicy red fruit, gentle spice and a great length and breadth of textured intensity. Toasted oak adds more spice and a note of dark chocolate, which combines well with the rich, rewarding core of berry.”

    2017 MacRostie Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

    “This lovely, balanced wine from the great site is nuanced in rose, lavender and dark cherry-strawberry richness, the palate juicy and supple with generous tension and texture. Spicy forest and black tea mingle with ease amongst the core of fruit, the finish lengthy and graceful.”

    2017 MacRostie Olivet Lane Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

    “This is a light, ethereal take on the variety, savory in forested earth, black tea and crispy red fruit. Made in a restrained, elegant style, it sings in acidity and energy, and has a subtle dusting of white pepper that is immensely complex.”

    2017 MacRostie Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

    “From the famous Petaluma Gap site, this light-bodied, elegant wine is fresh and rich in baked strawberry, forest and dried herb. Lengthy in savory spice and black tea, it has structure to spare, with firm, supple tannin and integrated oak.”

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

    “With a delicate floral nose met by cherry spice, this is a sumptuous and lovely red wine, fully lush in strawberry and black cherry. French oak wraps around the fruit effortlessly adding nuances of vanilla and baking spice.”

    2017 MacRostie Cumming’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 92 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Juicy strawberry, black tea and turned earth open into a midpalate of light, bright acidity, with a meaty underbelly of richness in this wine, sourced from a vineyard in the Santa Rosa Plains and farmed by Charlie Chenoweth. The finish hints of orange peel and cardamom.”

    2017 MacRostie Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir – 92 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Tangy, edgy acidity underlies the buzzing core of this structured, high-toned wine from the new appellation. Stony mineral and crisp, crunchy red fruit defines its medium-bodied frame of complex tannin integration and graceful finish.”

    2017 MacRostie The Key Chardonnay – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “This is a master blend from the best barrels of the vintage from many of the best single vineyards, which showcases exotic quince, Asian pear and fig. Bright, fresh notions of tangerine emphasize the inherent acidity, with a rich creamy midpalate along the way.”

    2017 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Floral, silky and succulent, this is a robust, full-bodied wine, expressive in blueberries and red-berry fruit. Dry tannins wrap around ripe layers of richness and texture and are seasoned lightly in dried herb and baking spice.”

    2017 MacRostie The Loch Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Tangy citrus is further boosted by tart, sharp acidity in this intensely full-bodied, ripe and boldly textured wine. The barrel imprint is strong, adding to the weight and breadth of the wine, which finishes in earth and black pepper.”

    2017 MacRostie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Creamy red fruit is complemented in a light, buzzy earthiness of tree bark, dried herb and mineral in this textured midweight wine. The appellation is well represented, the wine quietly rich in dark cherry, pomegranate and cola.”

    2016 Clockwise Napa Valley Red Wine – 88 Points: Very good; often good value; well recommended 

    “This blend of a majority Cabernet Sauvignon with sizable additions of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec delivers simple fruitiness and dark layers of spice. Supple and approachable, it broods in blackberry, clove and earth.”

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  • 2016 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 93 Points

    Wine Review Online 

    by Marguerite Thomas
    March 31, 2020

    “The grapes for this elegant wine come from the northern end of California’s Russian River Valley. You might savor it even more knowing that a scant 40 cases of the wine have been produced. This palate pleaser rests as light as silk in the mouth, offering bright berry nuances along with gentle hints of spice, cocoa and vanilla, while gentle and inviting acidity makes for a nice finish.”

    2016 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

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  • How Wineries Are Keeping The Juices Flowing During The Pandemic

    Forbes.com

    by Lana Bortolot
    March 31, 2020

    “Forced to shutter their tasting rooms, U.S. wineries, which rely heavily on direct-to-consumer sales, are having to think fast on their feet. Survey results released last week by the National Association of American Wineries painted a grim picture of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wine industry. Ten percent of the U.S. wineries responded, with the average respondent estimating a 63% decrease in sales during March. Anticipating business for April was also dark: on average, wineries expected a 75% decrease decline (with the median estimating an 80% loss). If able to resume operations on April 30, the average business recovery time was estimated to be three months. That could be a big ‘if.’

    While waiting it out, wineries are finding ways to cope, discounting product and shipping rates and tying in charitable-giving incentives. And even in uncertain times, wine-industry leaders large and small are stepping up relief efforts—from cash and in-kind donations to employee and peer support. Here’s a roundup of who’s doing what to keep the juices flowing.

    In Sonoma ValleyBricoleur Vineyards is donating 10% of all wine purchases to the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Inman Family Wines is donating 5% of their proceeds to Meals on Wheels. MacRostie Winery and Vineyards will donate $10 to No Kid Hungry for every online order. Ram’s Gate Winery is donating 5% of net proceeds from their spring release to Meals in Wheels San Francisco. Winery Sixteen 600 will donate 10% from every order to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Undocufund to help people most effected by the ongoing pandemic and shutdowns.

    The Donum Estate is charging a $10 flat-rate shipping for orders of any size (code FRIEND10), and will donate $10 to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Response Fund for each online order.

    For every 10 meals ordered through its dinner club, Kivelstadt Cellars will deliver one free meal to a service industry worker affected by the crisis at no cost, and is rolling out a donation meal program this week.On April 2, Three Sticks Wines will partner with Healdsburg’s SingleThread Farm restaurant and Sonoma Family Meals to donate 200 meals to the Graton Day Center, an advocacy organization for day laborers and other workers and their families. Another day of sponsored meals is forthcoming (TBD).

    SHIPPING + SIPPING

    Numerous prestige Napa wineries are offering free or reduced shipping, including Long Meadow Ranch and Stony Hill wineries (use the code SENDWINE at checkout for Long Meadow; code NEEDWINE for Stony Hill purchases); and Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel. Sonoma’s MacRostie Winery and Vineyards offers a 1¢ shipping on 12+ bottles, $10 ground shipping on 3-11 bottles (plus that $10 donation to No Kid Hungry for every online order).”

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  • 2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 93 Points

    Boozehoundz

    by Michael Cervin
    March 25, 2020

    “A tinkerer at heart, Steve MacRostie was drafted in the U.S. Army as a cryptographer. That means attention to detail and Steve’s wines, which I have reviewed for over a decade, all have the imprint of his attention to detail all over them. His 2017 RRV Chard offers upfront notes of muted lemon verbena and lime kefir, with mid-palate notes of guava, light honeysuckle, white peach, and pear, and back notes of browned butter along with a mild acidity. The wine went through a partial malolactic fermentation, then was aged for a scant 10 months in both new and used French oak, but that accounted for only 38% of an impact on the wine, therefore it’s not overbearing. The result is a playful, balanced (between oak and fruit) wine that is elegant, usable with a variety of foods, or just to enjoy as a classic Russian River Chardonnay.”

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  • Year’s Best Pinot Noirs

    Wine & Spirits

    by Josh Greene
    April 2020

    2017 MacRostie Donnelly Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “Catch this wine now for its pretty scent of roses and its gentle, peppery grip. It’s the color of a red rose petal and just about as delicate, with muddled-cherry flavors in the middle, ending clean and refreshing. Pour it with pan-roasted salmon and wild mushrooms.”

    2017 MacRostie Manzana Vineyard Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “This is a tense, floral pinot noir, with a cool jasmine note over its formal oak structure. While half of the lot aged in new French oak barrels, the herbal fruit is framed by wood notes but not diminished. From a vineyard farmed by the Dutton family, this is a sophisticated pinot with lasting flavors.”

    2017 MacRostie Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “The winds of the Petaluma Gap left their mark in the potent grape-skin tannins of this wine. It grows on a west-facing hillside in rocky, volcanic soils, taking on spicy green-peppercorn scents and dark cherry flavors. Grippy and bold, this is a wine for pasta with rabbit sausage and wild mushrooms.”

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  • Sonoma Coast Wineries Need Your Love Now More Than Ever

    Here are 29 excellent bottles of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to look for.

    Food & Wine

    by Brian Freedman
    March 18, 2020

    “Despite the way that wineries are often portrayed in the movies, many of them are small family businesses that exist just a single bad harvest or ill-timed hail storm away from financial disaster. As restaurants close and in-person tastings have been greatly diminished, this is a good time to support your favorite wineries by stocking up on their bottles. The pandemic is impacting businesses across the entire swath of the economy, and wine producers are no different. Stocking your cellar is arguably the best way to support them right now, and it has the ancillary effect of making these strange, terrifying days seem a little less fraught. Wine has always been a source of sunshine in dark times, and we could all use that now more than ever.

    Sonoma Coast has become one of the most popular, important sources of Pinot Noir in the United States. Due to its large size, however, and the range of sub-AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, within it, you can’t discuss Sonoma Coast in terms of any sort of consistent style.

    Andy Peay, one of the legends of Sonoma Pinot who has been at the forefront of the movement for the West Sonoma Coast to gain AVA status, says that painting the entire Sonoma Coast AVA with a broad brush is just as inaccurate as saying that you do or don’t like all California wines.

    ‘I’m in the very northwest corner of the West Sonoma Coast,’ he told me. ‘We don’t get out of the low-70s at the hottest time of the day in July or August.’ Fog from the Pacific Ocean comes through the Petaluma Gap, and while it warms up during the day, it gets a lot warmer in Russian River Valley and inland because the fog burns off, he said. Those differences throughout Sonoma Coast, and from pocket to pocket, can be felt and tasted in the wines.

    ‘The term ‘Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir’ means nothing and everything at the same time, simply because there is so much diversity in the region as far as microclimates and soil types,’ said Vanessa Wong, the owner of Fishtown Social, a wine bar in Philadelphia.

    The wines are, in general, absolutely delicious, and the overall quality is very impressive across the board. Below are 29 wines from throughout Sonoma Coast worth looking out for. They come from boutique producers and famously large ones, and run the gamut in terms of price and the number of bottles that were made. Some are more lean and mineral in character and others are riper and more generous. What they lack in consistent style, however, they more than make up for in exemplifying why the diversity of Sonoma Coast and the ambition and vision of its top producers are so outrageously exciting right now.

    2017 MacRostie Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir Fort Ross-Seaview

    High-toned and aromatic lifted. On the palate, a chocolate and caramel core anchors the generous red and black cherries, kirsch, and rosemary. Perfect with pulled pork.”

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  • Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide

    Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    by Virginie Boone
    April 2020

    2016 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 93 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “From an estate vineyard, this robust red offers waxy plum, dark cherry and stemmy earthiness, a mix of forest and floral that works against its integrated oak and tannin. Baking spice and cardamom season the richness of the fruit, allowing for a crispness on the finish.”

    2017 MacRostie Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay – 92 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “This wine is rich and intensely citrus-driven, with robust oak and concentration. Balanced acidity helps contrast against the generous tropical fruit, crème brûlée and baking spice, allowing for a crisp finish.”

    2017 MacRostie Champlin Creek Chardonnay – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Rich, round and tropical in nature, this medium-bodied wine is also citrusy in tangerine. Fleshy, full bodied and abundant, it has a long finish of baked apple and nutmeg.”

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Juicy, soft, rounded and rich, this memorable wine is ample and opulent in pear, Gravenstein apple and vanilla, with a racy tease of tropical mango and pineapple. Fresh acidity keeps it balanced and food-friendly within its hearty oak and ripeness.”

    2017 MacRostie Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “From the historic site planted to older vines, this white is reductive on the nose, developing in the glass to offer juicy layers of pear, pineapple, golden honey and caramel. Made in a rich, full-bodied style, with texture and weight, it finishes heartily in toasted oak.”

    2017 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Thick and grainy in citrusy lemon zest and bright acidity, this appellation wine impresses in its high tones of pleasing jasmine and flinty rock. Green apple and mango star on the midpalate, as a thread of baking spice and toasted oak pierces through.”

    2017 MacRostie Olivet Lane Chardonnay – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “The well-established site in the heart of the appellation contributes dark, brooding flavors of baked apple, spice and oak to this richly layered wine, thick in pineapple and crème brûlée. It lurks in acidity, keeping the palate refreshed.”

    Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide

    by Jim Gordon
    April 2020

    2017 MacRostie Day Ranch Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “This nicely balanced wine shows all the good things about Pinot Noir in a compact, relatively light package. Red-cherry, oak-spice and tea-leaf aromas are followed by tangy cherry and cranberry flavors, energized by good acidity and mild tannins.”

  • The Press Democrat “Wine of the Week”

    The Press Democrat

    by Peg Melnik
    February 18, 2020

    “Wine of the Week”

    2017 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

    “The Sonoma Coast is full of intrigue for winemakers puzzling together a blend. They’re scouting the rugged terrain for vineyards that deliver something unique.

    But if you’re Heidi Bridenhagen you don’t stop there. The winemaker of Healdsburg’s MacRostie Winery takes grapes streaming in from 30 different vineyards and creates 100 different, 1-ton fermentation lots.

    ‘With these micro fermentations, I’m really trying to tease out all the diversity Sonoma County has to offer,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘It’s really a big blend, but it’s really fun to make.’

    The winemaker of these uber blends is behind our wine of the week winner –– the MacRostie 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir at $34. This pinot offers generous fruit –– weighted to red flavors like cherry –– and impeccable balance. It has aromas and flavors of Bing cherry with a streak of cranberry, tobacco and cracked black pepper. Crisp acid keeps this fruit-forward pinot in sync. It’s a steal for the quality and complexity of this Sonoma Coast pinot.

    ‘Pinot noir can be very elegant and nuanced, and so trying to capture that and accentuate it and not overpower it, well that’s the challenge,’ Bridenhagen said.

    The geographic reach of these vineyards stretches from the San Pablo Bay to the south to Sea Ranch to the north.

    ‘I really try to take the time to learn what pinot has to offer,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘I explore the vineyards, trying to see what kind of elegance and nuance they have. First and foremost. you need a cool climate to make pinot noir sing. The Sonoma Coast really offers a diverse vineyard portfolio.’

    Bridenhagen, 36, joined MacRostie in 2011 after a stint at Vinwood Cellars, a Geyserville production facility owned by Jackson Family Wines. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006 with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in chemistry.

    ‘I loved the field, and I thought I’d go to medical school or get a job in biotech,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘But after graduation, I took six months to travel all over — western and eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Russian. I was exposed to wine and the culture around it … In college we weren’t wine connoisseurs.’

    After the trip, Bridenhagen moved to the Palo Alto area, and a day trip to Sonoma County changed the trajectory of her life.

    ‘I fell in love with Sonoma County that day,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘The wine itself was very eye-opening, and I loved the culture and lifestyle. So that’s how I became a winemaker.’

    The career, she said, is a good fit, particularly when it comes to producing pinot noir.

    ‘It’s a very delicate grape, and it needs to be handled very intentionally and gently,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘But it’s also what makes it so special.’

    Getting it right, the winemaker said, is very gratifying.

    ‘When you open a bottle that you and your team produced, and when it’s tasting really good, you remember everything that went into making it,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘It’s the ultimate reward at the end of a hard day.’

    This week’s blind tasting

    Top Pick

    2017 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – ★★★★★

    This pinot offers complex, generous fruit –– weighted to red –– and impeccable balance. Aromas and flavors of Bing cherry with a streak of cranberry, tobacco and cracked black pepper. Crisp acid keeps this fruit-forward pinot in sync. It’s a steal for the quality of this Sonoma Coast pinot noir.”

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