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July 2020

  • Wine Spectator names Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir as one of ‘9 Knockout California Pinot Noirs at 90+ Points’

    Wine Spectator

    by Aaron Romano
    July 27, 2020

    This week, we explore outstanding wines from some of the top Pinot Noir top regions in California. From Sonoma’s Russian River Valley to Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands to Santa Barbara’s windswept Sta. Rita Hills, each of these Pinots displays the unique style of the region and techniques that produced it.

    Pinot lovers will recognize several veterans on this list, including La Crema, MacRostie and Siduri. But one winery not previously known for Pinot Noir is Chappellet. This Napa-based Cabernet titan has recently expanded into Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards in Carneros and Sonoma. Its Dutton Ranch bottling shows crunchy red fruit and berry flavors, with mineral and Asian spice notes on the finish.

    Bravium was founded in 2007 by winemaker Derek Rohlffs. His Anderson Valley bottling pulls grapes from two vineyards, Wiley and Valley Foothills. The former sits on a ridge above the fog line, near the Pacific; the latter occupies south-facing slopes in the center of the valley. This combination yields a svelte style with cherry tart and juicy dark currant flavors. And if you’re seeking a widely available, wallet-friendly pick, look to the lively Acacia Carneros Pinot, which overdelivers at 90 points and $27.”

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 91 PointsOutstanding; a wine of superior character and style

    “Light and refined, with concentrated dried red cherry and berry flavors supported by fresh acidity. Underbrush and dried herbal notes on the finish.” – Kim Marcus

  • 2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 93 Points

    Wine Review Online

    by Rich Cook
    July 21, 2020

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – “This Russian River Pinot Noir finds a tasty balance between rich berry fruit and tannic black tea on the palate, the tea notes holding the fruit in tension in a silky texture. The tea notes are still folding in, and as they soften this will gain elegance. Another beautifully structured wine from MacRostie.”

  • “Your Guide to Great Summer Wines — Spectacular Sparkling, Rosé, White and Red Picks”

    PaperCity Magazine

    by James Brock
    July 18, 2020

    “Summer is fully in swing, and though it will be over before we know it, and will certainly be a, let’s say, unique, season, there is no reason for you to go without wine, especially wines new to you. (It’s always a good idea to buy something unfamiliar to you on a regular basis, while still enjoying your tried-and-true favorites.)

    You have been following the advice of Drs. Fauci and Hotez, your cooking skills have probably improved, and your dinner-party game is assuredly more impressive than it was back in February of this year — even if you’ve been preparing dishes for your immediate family only. You definitely deserve some delicious bottles of wine to pair with your creations (or your takeout fare).

    Here is your Summer Wine Guide (and these selections will be more than suitable for fall as well), a collection of bottles from quality producers whose approach to winemaking results in pleasure and exploration for the end user. . . you.

    You’ll find three bottles in each category of the guide — sparkling, rosé, white, and red. As a bonus, I’m including a few additional recommendations for your approval, a roster of wines I hope you’ll find intriguing.

    Rosé

    Many people hold the opinion that Rosé is best consumed in warmer weather, and while I do not want to discourage anyone from drinking it in, say, July or August, there is no need to restrict yourself in that manner. Rosé is not for summer only. That said, here are three bottles of (varying shades of ) pink that will go down well no matter the season.

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley

    Next, the 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley. This dry wine is drinking stunningly well — I shared a bottle with a friend a few days ago, and it is now on my reorder list. Saignée and direct-to-press are both used here, and the resulting wine is full of peach and strawberry and a touch of citrus.”

  • California chardonnay offers enjoyment year-round

    The Colorado Springs Gazette

    by Rich Mauro
    July 15, 2020

    Chardonnay’s place at the pinnacle of popularity in the U.S. has lasted for nearly four decades. It is the most planted grape and No. 1 in sales volume. Its adaptability to different growing conditions and winemaking styles at least partly explains this.

    There was a period of winemaking excess, primarily characterized by what is now considered overuse of oak. This eventually spurred a bit of a backlash, particularly among proponents urging consumers to drink ABC – Anything but Chardonnay. But consumers didn’t listen and kept drinking all styles.

    More recently, winemakers have found a better balance. With Burgundy as the benchmark, traditional practices — use of new oak barrels for fermentation and aging, malolactic fermentation, and aging on the lees — employed judiciously and tailored to the quality of the fruit, can produce delightfully enticing and complex wines.

    This produces in the best chardonnays (in my opinion) wines of lush texture with vibrant acidity accented variously with notes of cream, butter, toast, vanilla, baking spice, and nuts. The fruit will be intense and the grape’s natural citrus may be joined with apple, pear, peach, or tropical fruit, depending on the climate of the vineyard and the ripeness at harvest.

    The wines below (in order of personal preference) deftly walk the line between opulence and freshness, pure fruit and richness, delivering complexity with oak influence more as seasoning than dominant flavoring.

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley, toasty oak, rich fruit, drinks fresh but soft.”

  • 5 Wines to Buy Now – 2019 Pinot Noir Rosé

    The Houston Chronicle

    by Dale Robertson
    June 24, 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 19.3 Points out of 20

    Dry, fresh and fruity. Ripe cherry, peach and tangerine with dried herbs. Very drinkable.”

  • The Press Democrat “Wine of the Week”

    The Press Democrat

    by Peg Melnik
    June 23, 2020

    “Wine of the Week”

    2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

    “There’s a paradoxical unity in social distancing. Who knew the pandemic would make many feel so connected, like kindred spirits?

    ‘At the winery, I would say being distanced from one another has brought us closer,’ said Heidi Bridenhagen, the winemaker of MacRostie Winery. ‘We’re in this together and it has brought out the best in everyone. The amount of empathy and understanding has been amazing.’

    The philosophical winemaker who sees the upside in this pandemic is behind our wine of the week winner – the 2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay at $36.

    Rich, yet balanced, this chardonnay has a blend of enticing tropical and citrus notes. It has aromas and flavors of green apple, papaya and lime. The wine begins with aromas of toffee, with citrus notes just beneath, and follows it through to the palate. The MacRostie has a lush texture, yet finishes crisp. It’s an impressive wine and a steal for this caliber of chardonnay.

    Other top-rated chardonnays to consider include: Gary Farrell, 2017 West Side Farms, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, $55; Jordan, 2018 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, $35; Goldschmidt’s Singing Tree, 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, $18 and Crossbarn, 2019 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $27.

    As for the MacRostie chardonnay, Bridenhagen said it was a delight to craft.

    ‘This wine is my winemaker’s playground,’ she said. ‘We work with so many iconic growers in the valley — the Duttons, Martinellis, Bacigalupis, Kent Ritchie, Charles Heintz and more. Each site is a small slice of chardonnay heaven, and with our Russian River Valley chardonnay I don’t have to stick to one specific vineyard. I can play with the diverse flavor and aromas from each vineyard and layer them together into what I feel embodies a great Russian River chardonnay.’

    Making wine during a pandemic complicates logistics, but Bridenhagen isn’t losing sleep. Winemaking has made her an experienced tactician.

    ‘My job as a winemaker is a constant series of decision making, which is something I consider myself good at,’ she said. ‘So taking the pandemic and assessing each situation individually – is this action high-risk? Can I make it medium- or low-risk? – is just another layer to consider and address.’

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

    The winemaker likes the mysteries intrinsic even in a mainstream grape like chardonnay.

    ‘Many people have assumptions about what chardonnay tastes like, but chardonnay is incredibly versatile and has a huge breath of expression,’ Bridenhagen said.

    The masked winemaking team sits 10 feet apart from each other when discussing wines.

    ‘Winemaking is an incredibly familial environment,’ Bridenhagen said. ‘It feels strange to not be able to hug, share a glass of wine and a meal with my co-workers or a shift beer at the end of a long day that was particularly rewarding. That said, winemaking has been going on for thousands of years and it continues even during a pandemic.’”

  • “5 Wines to Buy Now”

    Houston Chronicle

    by Dale Robertson
    May 24, 2020

    “The Houston Chronicle’s tasting panel remains on hiatus until further notice, but we haven’t stopped swirling and sipping on our own. Here are five recommendations, sampled blindly, from a mix of eminently trustworthy individual tasters.

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 19.3 Points out of 20

    Dry, fresh and fruity. Ripe cherry, peach and tangerine with dried herbs. Very drinkable.”