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  • MacRostie on Forbes.com

    Forbes

    August 27, 2021

    by Tom Hyland

    “Must-Try Chardonnay And Pinot Noir From Three Artisan California Wineries”

    “There are hundreds of wine producers in California that excel at producing wines with an artisan approach. Crafting small lots of wines such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two Burgundian varietals that at their best are made to display not only ideal balance and true character that represent their particular varietal, but also offer a sense of place, wines that reveal the identity of where the grapes are grown.

    In this article, I will focus on three producers in northern California that brilliantly capture their specific area’s character and personality regarding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

    ThalesVineyard2014

    Thales Vineyard, Russian River Valley, source of Pinot Noir for one the best wines from MacRostie Vineyard and Winery.

    MacRostie Vineyard and Winery, Sonoma County

    Founded by Steve MacRostie in 1987, this has been one of the shining stars in the Carneros Sonoma area, especially with Chardonnay. Pinot Noir, with much of the fruit sourced from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, has become equally important for the winery, which recently moved its location from Carneros to a state-of-the-art facility on Westside Road in Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley. While Steve Macrostie was the original winemaker, he turned these duties over to the effervescent Heidi Bridenhagen in 2013; she had served as assistant winemaker there since 2011. Her style is one that showcases bright varietal fruit with a notable sense of origin; the wines always display very good acidity and are elegantly styled.

    Note that all of the Macrostie Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs (as well as all of their other wines) are bottled with screw caps, which the proprietors believe preserve the wines’ freshness and purity.

    2019 MacRostie Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay – 95 Points

    Brilliant light yellow; aromas of golden apple, spiced pear and goldenrod. Medium-full, this has excellent ripeness, very good acidity, and a delicate creamy, lush feel, all the while coming across as very delicate on the palate. This has beautiful finesse along with exquisite balance, and will be especially appealing to Chardonnay lovers who tire of excessive wood notes in their wines. A marvelous success that can be enjoyed tonight with lemon sole or halibut, or put away for three to five years.

    2018 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 92 Points

    An estate vineyard of MacRostie since 2013, this site was named for Steve’s wife Thale. Beautiful delicate garnet; aromas of bing cherry, pink roses and carnations, this is a delicious Pinot Noir with very good acidity, impressive varietal purity, medium-bodied tannins, nicely integrated notes and a lengthy, supple finish with delicate notes of black spice. Pair this with roast chicken tonight or lay away for another five to seven years.

    2018 MacRostie Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91 Points

    Beautiful delicate garnet (almost pink); aromas of bing and black cherry, pomegranate and chrysanthemum. Medium-full, this has ripe fruit character, very good acidity, earthy notes in the finish and rich tannins. Give this a few years to settle down, as it will improve for another five to seven years. If you want to pair this with food tonight, serve it with cornish hen.

    2019 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay – 91 Points

    Light yellow; aromas of guava, melon and saffron. Medium-full, this is quite rich on the palate and displays more intense wood notes and power than the Heintz Chardonnay. This is more in the style of many California Chardonnays from the 1980s and 1990s and needs to be paired with very rich seafood (lobster, swordfish) or meats such as roast veal. Enjoy over the next 3-5 years.”

  • MacRostie on JebDunnuck.com

    JebDunnuck.com

    July 22, 2021

    by Jeb Dunnuck

    2019 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Chardonnay – 91 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “The 2019 Chardonnay Wildcat Mountain showed nicely, with a reductive, mineral-laced, medium-bodied style as well as pretty citrus and stone fruits, lots of white flowers, and subtle spice and nuttiness, integrated acidity, and light background oak. It’s well worth following over the coming 4-6 years.”

    2019 MacRostie Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay – 91 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “Bright lemon, white flowers, honeysuckle, and a kiss of salty minerality all emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Kent Ritchie Vineyard, and while it’s one of the lighter, fresher, and more elegant wines in the lineup, it has plenty of length and persistence.”

    2019 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 91 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the appellation 2019 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast reveals a light ruby hue to go with tart cherry and strawberry fruits, a medium-bodied, elegant mouthfeel, nicely integrated acidity, and classy, almost Russian River-like notes of spice, cola, and savory flowers. It’s a rock-solid, impressive Pinot Noir to enjoy over the coming 5-6 years.”

    2019 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “Another outstanding Pinot Noir, the 2019 Pinot Noir Thale’s Vineyard has a medium ruby, translucent color as well as classic Pinot Noir red berry fruits, notes of spice and dried herbs, medium-bodied richness, and an elegant, lightly textured mouthfeel. It has plenty of charm and should keep for 4-5 years.”

    2019 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – 90 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “The 2019 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is rock-solid and has pretty pear, tart peach, and subtle citrus fruits to go with a medium-bodied, supple, elegant, and nicely balanced style on the palate. The acidity is nicely integrated, and this is just clean, pure, and delicious.”

    2019 MacRostie Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay – 90 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “The 2019 Chardonnay Bacigalupi Vineyard is another Chardonnay here that has a kiss of matchstick and good reduction. Showing more pear, peach, and lemon curd as well as sappy green herb notes with time in the glass, it’s medium-bodied, has good overall freshness and purity, and a clean, solid finish. It’s a very good Chardonnay, if not outstanding, and should have 3-4 years of prime drinking.”

    2019 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir – 90 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seek out.

    “The 2019 Pinot Noir Wildcat Mountain has slightly more underbrush and salinity as well as ample ripe black cherry and framboise fruits, medium-bodied richness, and a length, salty finish. It’s another impressive, balanced, elegant Pinot Noir in the lineup.”

  • MacRostie in The Tasting Panel

    The Tasting Panel

    August 2021

    by Meridith May

    “Pinot Parade: Our Top Picks for Summer”

    2018 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir – 94 Points: Outstanding

    “Wildcat Mountain Vineyard is owned by Steve MacRostie and his partners Nancy and Tony Lilly. Its volcanic soils, strong maritime winds, and coastal fog contribute to the distinctive character of this lushly layered red, which opens with inspiring

    notes of cinnamon roll and cherry pie. A more complex mid-palate unfolds with jasmine, frankincense, and other exotic floral notes, leaving a trace of lavender and plum on the finish.”

    “Down the Aisle”

    2019 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – 94 Points: Outstanding

    “Sourcing from vineyards in Carneros, the Russian River Valley, and the Petaluma Gap, winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen works with such prestigious growers as the Duttons, Sangiacomos, and Martinellis to make this spiritual white. It possesses an inner glow thanks to the juiciest peach, the sweetness of honeysuckle, and a splash of tangerine, which join under-lying minerality, a lift of acidity, and a touch of vanilla nougat. The pineapple juice–like finish is memorable.”

  • MacRostie on Honest Cooking

    Honest Cooking

    July 2021

    by Kalle Berman

    Summer Wine Guides 2021: Reds”

    “When you think ‘red wine’ your mind might not immediately go to ‘summer.’ But what would a summer grilling party be without some delicious reds to pair with your steaks, brats, burgers and ribs?

    In this first of four summer wine guides (the others covering whites, rosés and sparklers), we focus our attention on the 61 red wines we think you should be drinking as the height of summer is quickly approaching. Ranging from lighter wines that pair excellently with fish and vegetables, to heavier, classic reds that go well with your smokey, savory meats. And although they are all great food wines, they are also equally excellent on their own – perfect for sipping as you enjoy yet another gorgeous summer sunset.

    As usual in our wine guides – we let the winemakers themselves speak about why they think their wines deserve your attention.

    2018 MacRostie Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

    Winemaker’s Notes:

    The 2018 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir displays an awe-inspiring level of concentration and depth. Cinnamon, dried flowers, and sun-ripened raspberry aromas entice you to take a sip. On the palate, this gorgeous wine is soft and appealing, with silky tannins and bright berry fruit flavors. Nuanced cocoa and coffee notes tie into the finish leaving a pleasing, lasting impression.”

    Summer Wine Guides 2021: Whites”

    “Welcome to summer – have a glass of delicious white wine, take a seat on the porch and just take in the scenery. And don’t worry out finding the right wine – we’ve taken the guesswork out of summer white wine selection for you.

    As the summer presses on, a glass of crispy Sauvignon Blanc or a buttery Chardonnay floats our boat equally. We don’t discriminate against grapes – good wine is good wine in our book – but we do want our wine be versatile, equally comfortable drunk on its own as paired with the finest summer bounty. So here, presented in the winemakers’ own words, are our favorite white wines of the blistering summer of 2021.

    2018 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley

    Winemaker’s Notes:

    The wine has a pale yellow color and complex aromas of ripe pineapple, green melon, and a touch of honeysuckle. On the palate, it offers a soft, supple texture that elegantly supports the vibrant fruit flavors. The finish is round and mouth-filling, with a beam of energetic natural acidity and linger hints of kumquat and tropical fruit.”

  • As Wines Taste More the Same, There Are Still Some of Distinction

    John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet
    January 10, 2021
    by John Mariani

    “As Wines Taste More the Same, There Are Still Some of Distinction”

    “There is an increasing danger in the global wine market that too many wines are being made to taste according to a template, rather than to the individuality of their terroir. I’ll be writing about the high alcohol phenomenon soon and about how wines can be manipulated in order to increase intensity. For now, here are some good wines that express individuality, rather than taste just like their competitors’ in their respective regions.”

    2017 MacRostie Sparkling Brut

    “This is what I drank for a first wine on New Year’s Eve. I like well-made rosés (not all are by a long shot) and this three-year-old has developed depth while retaining the fruitiness I look for in a sparkling wine made in the méthode champenoise. It’s a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend, disgorged in 2019, adjusted for sweetness, with 7 grams residual sugar. It went beautifully with an appetizer of foie gras terrine.”

  • It’s Cheese O’Clock in California

    The Mercury News 

    October 16, 2020
    By Jackie Burrell 

    “Last spring, cheese experts Janet Fletcher and Laura Werlin teamed up with cheesemakers and winemakers to bring attention to, as Werlin put it, ‘the great cheeses of America.’ The virtual Cheese O’Clock series proved so crazy popular, they’re doing an encore with four themed wine and cheese tastings in November and December.

    The Thursday Zoom sessions are free. But unless you like watching other people nibble, sip and swoon while you go cheese-less and wine deprived, you’ll want to purchase those blue-ribbon fromages and wine pairings ahead, so they’ll be on your doorstep in time to taste along.

    Cheese selections are $65 for four or five cheeses. And we’re not talking petite wedges — the shipment for a recent session we joined included a round of Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam, a whole Nicasio Foggy Morning fromage blanc and more. The paired wines are $90 to $105 for two bottles, shipped straight from the wineries.

    Tastings are on Thursdays at 4 p.m. Pacific (7 p.m. Eastern). Here’s what lies in store.

    How the West Was Won, Nov. 12: MacRostie Winery winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen and Central Coast Creamery’s cheesemaker Reggie Jones, whose Ewenique cheese joins a lineup that also includes Laura Chenel’s Goat Brie, Beecher’s Cheese’s Flagship Reserve, and Rogue Creamery’s Caveman Blue.”

  • This Week’s Blind Tasting: Sauvignon Blancs

    The Press Democrat

    October 14
    By Peg Melnik

    2019 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc – ★★★ ½: Good

    “A zesty sauvignon blanc with notes of melon, mango and mineral. Buoyed by bright acidity. Finishes crisp.” 

  • Year’s Best California Chardonnays

    Wine & Spirits

    October 2020
    By Josh Greene

    “Our blind panels tasted 379 California chardonnays during the past 12 months. Our critics tasted 121 exceptional (90+) and 56 as Best Buys. Joshua Greene covers California’s North Coast; Patrick J. Comiskey covers the Central Coast.”

    2018 MacRostie Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 92 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “This grows at Bacigalupi’s Frost Ranch, where MacRostie sources a block of chardonnay propagated from diverse heritage selections in a mix of young and old vines. The wine initially seems to be all about golden fruit, from apricot to nectarine, pithy grapefruit acidity and savory grape-skin tannins. It develops length and elegance as it opens with air, a salty tension keeping the richness in line. Decant it for a savory veal stew.”

    2018 MacRostie Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 91 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “All about generosity, from vanilla cream to savory pastry notes, this is round and luscious, lasting on toasted almond and apricot scents. It’s a classical Russian River chardonnay to pour at brunch with poached salmon.”

    2017 MacRostie The Key Chardonnay Sonoma Coast  – 91 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “In the 1960s, Steve MacRostie trained as a US army cryptographer in Vicenza, where he developed an interest in European wine. He now channels that interest into the single-vineyard chardonnays he makes with wine-maker Heidi Bridenhagen. This vintage of The Key is tense and grassy, then settles into intriguing fruit depths that combine the tartness of yellow cherries, the muskiness of huitlacoche and the mineral savor of cheese rind. Panelist Michele Em suggested it would open up with baked apples and brie.”

    2018 MacRostie The Key Chardonnay Sonoma Coast  – 91 Points: Delicious, compelling; a compelling wine of its region; a delicious, finessed expression of place

    “Steve MacRostie and winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen blend The Key from their favored chardonnay lots, including parcels in the Russian River Valley, the far Sonoma Coast and Carneros. It’s a fresh, coastal white with green-apple notes and rooty scents of carrots. The texture is creamy, the finish clean.”

  • “Alphabetical Guide to California Pinot Noir”

    Wine Spectator

    October 15
    By Kim Marcus

    “These wines were tasted for Kim Marcus’ California Pinot Noir tasting report in the Oct. 15, 2020, issue of Wine Spectator magazine. For a full analysis of the latest vintages and top wines and top values charts, read ‘Cascade Effect.’ More than 600 wines were reviewed for this report. WineSpectator.com members can find all reviews, with full tasting notes, in the Wine Ratings Search.”

    2017 MacRostie Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir Fort Ross-Seaview – 92 Points: Outstanding; a wine of superior character and style

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

    2017 MacRostie Cummings Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 90 Points: Outstanding; a wine of superior character and style

    2017 MacRostie Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 90 Points: Outstanding; a wine of superior character and style

    2017 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 89 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2017 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 89 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 89 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2017 MacRostie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 88 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2017 MacRostie Wohler Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 88 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2017 MacRostie The Loch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 88 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

    2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 87 Points: Very good; a wine with special qualities

  • Cascade Effect

    Wine Spectator

    October 15
    By Kim Marcus

    “Pinot Noir continues its expansion across the Golden State, with rising quality and increased production driven by a surge of single-vineyard wines flowing from key winegrowing regions up and down the California coast, where the cooler, maritime-influenced climate proves ideal for the grape’s cultivation.

    This past year has been a banner tasting season as I reviewed more than 600 wines since my previous report (“Coastal Conquest,” Oct. 15, 2019), with the vast majority of the action centered on the 2017 and 2018 vintages. Overall, more than 375 wines reached 90 points or higher, making for a remarkably high level of quality, with three dozen wines scoring in the 94- to 95-point range.

    Perhaps even more impressive is the diversity of the appellations where Pinot Noir excels. Classic-rated wines are being made all the way from Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, one of the state’s northernmost appellations, to Santa Barbara’s Sta. Rita Hills, 400 miles to the south. In between, districts in Sonoma, Napa and Monterey also chime in with stellar wines.


    In Sonoma’s historic heartland of Pinot Noir, the Russian River Valley, stalwart producers such as Arista, Dehlinger, Ferren, Hartford Court, Paul Hobbs and Williams-Selyem continue to prime the quality pump with both single-vineyard bottlings and appellation blends. Indeed, the high quality of many appellation blends make them a good buying strategy if you are looking for value. These versions tap multiple vineyard sources within an appellation and are made in significantly higher quantities. They offer solid varietal flavors and structure, with just a bit less concentration and finesse compared with single-vineyard offerings.

    From the Russian River Valley, look for the EnRoute Les Pommiers 2018 (93, $60), MacMurray Ranch 2017 (92, $38) and Sojourn 2018 (92, $45). From the Sonoma Coast, there’s the 2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (91, $34), RouteStock 116 2018 (91, $23), Au Contraire 2017 (90, $27), La Crema 2017 (90, $25) and Sean Minor 2018 (90, $22). And from Carneros, seek out the Artesa 2017 (91, $25) and Acacia 2017 (90, $27).”

  • Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide – 2017 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc

    Wine Enthusiast

    October 12
    By Virginie Boone

    MacRostie 2019 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley) – 90 Points

    Sourced from the Mirabelle and Jewell Ranch vineyards, the grapes Musque clone, this is a delightfully delicious and impressively made white. Floral, herbal and steely, it shows a wealth of crisp green apple and melon flavor with just a touch of neutral oak influence. 


  • “New Releases from MacRostie Winery Reviewed”

    Modern Wine

    September 2020
    By Tim Teichgraeber

    “MacRostie Winery has emerged as one of the real stars of the Sonoma Coast in the last decade, producing elegant, bright, and flavorful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that still seems to be improving year over year. Founder Steve MacRostie Winery deserves plenty of credit – he’s always done a great job of managing his winery – but hiring winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen was certainly one of his greatest coups, because under her watch the wines have evolved into a focused, bright, complex style that only a few dozen labels (Peay and Drew come to mind) have mastered.  MacRostie Winery also switched from corks to screwcap closures some years ago, a move that has clearly added freshness and reliability to the wines.”

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 94 Points
    “This translucent red has bright violet, cherry and raspberry aromas with hints of oolong tea and anise. It’s silky and lithe on the palate, juicy and sprightly like a Burgundy, but where a Burgundy would have a bit more earthiness, this Pinot is all sunny cool-climate California fruit finishing with just a hint of toast and caramel. This is a hard wine to put down. You could age it for a few years, but why bother. It’s ready now”

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 93 Points
    “In the last 6 or 7 years, this Sonoma Coast Chardonnay has emerged as a consistent personal favorite of mine, and at $25 a bottle, it’s one of the best values in California Chardonnay. What’s so great about this wine is how it balances a sleek, bright winemaking style with the sunny intensity of California fruit. It opens with luscious pineapple and lemon curd flavors and finishes bright and tangy with just a hint of French oak”

  • “California’s Next Generation Lead Women Winemakers And The Promise That Accompanies Their Success”

    Grape Collective 

    September 18, 2020
    By Lucia Albino Gilbert and John C. Gilbert

    “Our oft-cited 2011 study reported that only 10% of California wineries had a woman in their lead winemaker position. Our 2020 follow-up study indicated a modest but significant increase to 14% over the past nine years.1

    The career paths of women who moved into lead winemaker positions since our 2011 study, whom we call California’s Next Generation Lead Women Winemakers, illuminate important patterns of underlying change. These patterns hold promise in leveling the ‘playing field’ for California’s women winemakers.

    For this article, we identified sixteen ‘Next Generation’ women winemakers whose career paths illustrate one of three patterns. Two of the three reflect increased opportunity within what has been a traditionally male-dominated field:

    • The first lead woman winemaker appointed following mentorship by a senior male winemaker at the same winery, and 
    • The first woman winemaker hired into a lead winemaker position at a prominent winery.

    A reaffirming third pattern was also identified among their career paths:

    • Women winemakers who own their wineries or who work as independent consulting winemakers while also developing their own label.

    First Lead Woman Winemaker Appointed at a Well-Known Winery Following Mentorship by a Senior Male Winemaker at the Same Winery

    Although not everyone needs a mentor to be ‘successful,’ mentors are known to be important to career development. Mentors help their mentees develop a vision for themselves, learn important skills and knowledge, and gain self-confidence.

    Important illustrative examples come from the career paths of two pioneering women winemakers—MaryAnn Graf, California’s first lead women winemaker, appointed winemaker at Simi Winery in Healdsburg in 1973, and Jill Davis, at the time California’s youngest lead woman winemaker when appointed at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma in 1983 at age 27. Both were mentored by the esteemed André Tchelistcheff after his retirement from Beaulieu Vineyard in 1973. They described his mentorship as an intensive and supportive experience and central to their career success.

    Six of our Next Generation lead winemakers were mentored by a prominent senior male winemaker. Unlike Graf and Davis, however, these winemakers were mentored by a long-time male winemaker for a position at that same winery. It is not unusual for winemakers to continue in their role for many years, especially at family-owned wineries, and to seek exceptional young talent in filling positions that can help secure the winery’s future. Implicit gender bias, however, may make it more difficult for women to successfully compete for these positions. That these successful long-time winemakers at prominent wineries, all men, identified, hired, and then entered into a mentoring relationship with highly qualified young women destined to be appointed as the next winemaker represents an important shift in a male-dominated industry.

    The six winemakers are presented in order of when each winery was established to provide some context for the winery’s history, the mentoring, and the winemaker’s appointment.

    Heidi Bridenhagen, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards, Healdsburg, Sonoma County. 

    Founded in 1987 by Thale and Steve MacRostie, with Steve as its first winemaker, Heidi Bridenhagen became its third winemaker in 2013.

    Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Heidi loved the outdoors, math, and science. She earned a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2006 and then spent time traveling through wine regions in Eastern and Western Europe. She knew on her return that she wanted to pursue a career that combined her scientific expertise and creative skills.

    Following a number of harvest and lab experiences in California and New Zealand, Heidi joined MacRostie in 2011, ironically the same day the MacRostie’s sold it. Not knowing what this would mean for her career path, her interview experience with Steve, who later became her mentor, was reassuring. According to Heidi, ‘We spent a few minutes discussing my qualifications, why I thought MacRostie would be a good fit, etc., and then he said, ‘It sounds like you are more than qualified for the job, but who are you and what do you like to do in your free time?’ We ended up talking for over an hour. . . It made me realize that this would be more than just a job, but a family where I could grow in my career.’

    In December 2013, the winemaker at the time decided to leave. Heidi laid out her 1-, 3-, and 5-year plans for the winery and became the next winemaker at the age of 27! She continues to work closely with Steve.

    A dynamic and gifted winemaker, Heidi consistently receives high scores and accolades for her wines. She does as many as 130 small fermentations each vintage from which to craft the winery’s noted Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

    Brief Summary

    These six young winemakers have in common their mentoring relationships with long-time winemakers who recognized and nurtured their talents and abilities, and in one case, even following a change in ownership. The wineries themselves are among California’s long-established wineries in Napa and Sonoma, with all dating back to at least 1987.”

  • 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – ★★★★: Highly recommended

    The Press Democrat

    September 1, 2020
    By Peg Melnik

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – ★★★★: Highly recommended

    “A refreshing rosé with bright fruit coupled with crisp acidity. Notes of cherry, strawberry and mineral. Great balance. Nice length.”

  • “The 65 Best Summer Whites, Rosés and Sparklers”

    Honest Cooking

    August 4, 2020
    By Kalle Bergman

    “Although you may soon begin to feel the temperature drop slightly where you live, we refuse to give in to fall just yet. As far as we are concerned here at Honest Cooking, summer doesn’t end until sometime in October – and we’ll still be sipping chilled rosés, whites and sparklers for more than another month (actually we drink them all year round, but don’t tell anyone).

    But regardless if you’re like us, I’m sure we agree that it’s important to end on a high note. Drink the best summer wines now, because frankly – 2020 does need a little pick me up.

    So with that, we took it upon ourselves to drink our way through hundreds of summer wines of various types, styles and grapes – and we’ve compiled what we think is THE ULTIMATE list of the Best Summer Wines of 2020 that you should be drinking over the next couple of months.

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley

    Winemaker’s Notes: With a pale gold color and subtle yet complex aromas of peach and cinnamon this wine shows the exquisite nature of Dutton Ranch Chardonnay. The soft and rich entry underscores the juicy tropical flavors, with a beam of elegant natural acidity adding to a long, refreshing finish.”

  • 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 94 Points

    Epoch Times

    August 12, 2020
    By Robert Whitley

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 94 Points 

     “Bursting with notes of strawberry and cherry, this is a crowd-pleasing dry rosé that just goes on and on. MacRostie is famous for its chardonnay and pinot noir, but now it seems rosé is getting in on that class act.”

  • 2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

    Wine Review Online

    August 25, 2020
    By Rich Cook

    MacRostie Winery and Vineyards, Russian River Valley (Sonoma County, California) Chardonnay 2018 ($36)

    Here is another winner from winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen that hits my crisp-and-creamy Chardonnay spec head-on. Less than ten percent new oak and partial malolactic fermentation hold the acidic edge that makes the variety pop, letting the lemon and melon fruit profile sing brightly. This is my kind of sipping Chardonnay for warm weather. It’s just a touch softer than 2017, but it works very well.

  • 2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay – 93 Points

    Wine Review Online

    August 18, 2020
    By Marguerite Thomas

    2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay – 93 Points 

    “Year after year MacRostie Chardonnay is always outstanding and the 2018 vintage is no exception — in fact better than ever in some ways. There is plenty of ripe, rich fruit here but in no way is it overstated. Instead, the fruit is a team player, neatly tag-teaming with the subtle spice of oak and the freshness that acidity brings to the blend.”  

  • Tripadvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Winner

    Tripadvisor

    August 2020

    Congratulations MacRostie Winery and Vineyards on being a Travelers’ Choice Winner. Each year, we comb through reviews, ratings, and saves from travelers everywhere, and use that info to award the very best.

  • Wine Advocate – California, Sonoma County

    Wine Advocate

    By Erin Brooks
    August 13, 2020

    2018 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – 91 Points: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines

    “The 2018 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Chardonnay has leesy Bosc pears and white peaches with notes of gunflint and honey-nut notions. It’s light to medium-bodied with a good core of peachy fruit, bright freshness and a long, clean finish. 992 cases produced.”

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 90 Points: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines

    “Pale ruby, the 2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir offers blackberries, cranberries and rhubarb with notes of woodsmoke, black tea leaves and earth. The palate is light-bodied, soft and juicy with a good core of fruit and a satisfying finish. 4,181 cases produced.”

    “USA, California: Sonoma County 2018 Vintage” 

    “2018 in Sonoma has been hailed as a spectacular vintage, and for many top wineries it is. But this is not a great vintage across the board—if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. The 2018 vintage carried the potential for near-perfect wines, but it also carried the potential for mediocrity. The 2018 vintage provided, undisputedly, the opportunity to make world-class wines. It was also replete with hidden dangers—both natural and manmade—that resulted in more than a few washed out, dilute, flavorless wines, from unfamiliar and familiar names alike.

    2018: The Good News 

    2018 was an unusually long, cool growing season, and there are many gorgeous wines to choose from. Regional character is clear across appellations, particularly for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There were no heat events to stunt growth or erase regional character, and both varieties are pure and precise in this vintage. The extended growing season allowed for winemakers to harvest at leisure, and many properties expertly captured a perfect picture of ripeness. Cooler nights maintained very bright acidity across varieties, and in general, the best wines of 2018 are lifted, layered, energetic and dynamic, with incredible movement and texture in the mouth. The best Chardonnays are silky, with precise and mineral entries, broad and layered mid-palates and long, linear finishes. Pinot Noirs are incredibly pure and nuanced, with high-toned, ethereal aromatics, replete with the layers of fruit, earth, spice and bitterness that make for the best examples of this grape. Later-ripening varieties show very finely grained tannic structures and Goldilocks ripeness rather than simple fruit or power. The best 2018s are tight right now but will age very well in bottle, as cooler nights resulted in incredibly vibrant acidity across varieties, and the best wines have plenty of fruit to carry the wines in the cellar. With time in bottle, the best 2018s will gain nuance and depth.

    A Bumper Crop of Unripe Grapes  

    For the last several years, California has led the charge of the ‘new normal’ with a string of very warm, very dry years. To set the stage for 2018, it’s important to understand the past several years in California. Beginning in 2012, growers faced increasing challenges with drought and extreme heat events, capped by the devastating Labor Day heat wave of 2017. Readers will recall that temperatures reached 117 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas, and that the extreme heat lasted for several days. To top things off, early October brought wildfires that ripped through Sonoma, destroying vineyards and bringing the issue of smoke taint to the forefront. Mother Nature did ease some suffering with the arrival of heavy rains during the winter of 2017/2018, officially ending the years’ long drought. Many parts of Sonoma also experienced rainstorms in late spring, adding to mildew pressure. 

    After the late spring rains, the season returned to normal, and fruit set was perfect across the region. At veraison, growers began to notice large crop loads—by all accounts, 2018 was a massive bumper crop, as ample winter and spring rain plus perfect fruit set combined to result in incredible vine vigor and up to seven or eight tons per acre of fruit in some cases. Most notably, there was not an increase in the number of clusters but rather unexpected increases in berry size that crept up after veraison and the first thinning passes. Berries continued to swell up in size during the season, distorting the picture revealed by cluster counts at veraison. In many cases, final yields were up over 30% from what was predicted at lag phase. 

    Six years of drought taught winemakers and growers in California to hold their breath for the inevitable heat waves in August and over Labor Day weekend, but they never came. Instead, it cooled considerably. Many growers reported steady temperatures in the 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit) for the remainder of the season. Nights were especially chilly, and fierce wind on the Sonoma Coast slowed ripening. All across Sonoma County, vines loaded with crop in anticipation of a warm year struggled to ripen. Viticulture is always a gamble, and cooler vintages present a different set of challenges. A polar opposite vintage from 2017 and the first cool vintage in six years surely caught people off guard: growing degree days in 2017 far surpass those accumulated in 2018. Donum winemaker Dan Fishman says, ‘2018 was a little bit like 2012—if you weren’t paying attention, it could turn mediocre because there was nothing to force your hand. A vintage like that can lead to a lot of okay wines.’

    Controlling yields was critical for success in 2018. ‘The big news this year was the crop size, following the end of the drought,’ Paul Hobbs said. ‘We had tremendous rain, and the vines were ready to go. They were in hyper-fertile productive mode. On average, we dropped at least a year’s worth of fruit on the ground, and we still went over yield by 5% to 10%. That’s essentially saying we had two vintages in one in 2018, if we had harvested all the fruit. We couldn’t believe the berry and cluster weights we were seeing. We did four yield thinnings, so it was a horribly expensive year for us, because of all those passes.’ Some winemakers opted out of late-season thinnings, feeling it was too little, too late. This may have been true in some instances, but in general, the best wines in 2018 are from properties that kept a tight watch on their vineyards and continually adjusted crop load to the cooler season. Those who did little or no thinning at all were left with a bumper crop of unripe grapes, and there were still grapes hanging on vines as I drove around the valley in late October and early November. ‘People didn’t thin,’ says Hobbs. ‘It blew my mind. We thinned to the point where the ground was literally covered in grapes, but no one around us was doing that.’ Kistler winemaker Jason Kesner agrees that controlling yields was critical for quality in 2018. ‘I remember looking at other vineyards that are normally picked a week or two after ours that still had fruit on the vine three weeks later. You can only ask so much of a grapevine. There is something about setting vine balance early in the year so your vines can do all the work on their own. Crop load is the biggest factor for dilute wines in 2018—if people are honest about how much tonnage they brought in!’

    Economic and logistical factors also played a role in quality potential. The heavy crop load in 2018 was a relief for many who had lost significant portions of their production in 2017. Expecting a warm year, it would be tempting to hang some extra crop—winemakers need inventory and growers need to get paid. A big crop also results in a myriad of logistical problems in the winery: not enough tanks for fermenting, not enough space for storage, not enough barrels for aging, etc. Labor has been scarce in recent years, and finding enough labor for such a large harvest was also a challenge. Romantic as winemaking is from the outside, at the end of the day, it’s a business. Economic and logistical challenges, rather than quality, drove winemaking decisions in many cases this vintage. ‘2018 could have been a logistical nightmare for winemakers,’ notes Kosta Browne winemaker Julien Howsepian. ‘Not enough capacity to take in fruit at the right time, fermenting in any container you can find, etc. That constrains a winemaker’s ability do things in a way they might have anticipated from the onset. It’s almost like the vintage took control of them, even if the fruit was really good. A great vintage doesn’t mean the wines will become great.’

    Keeping yields in check was the biggest factor for potential quality, and many top growers and winemakers reported having to make up to five extra passes through the vineyards throughout the season once it became clear that the crop was much larger than initially anticipated. Not every property can afford to send crews out to make the extra thinning passes critical for success in 2018, and not everyone could round up a crew with the shortage of labor. 

    Heavy yields and well below average summertime temperatures combined this year to produce many washed-out, dilute, hollow and flavorless wines—Burgundian varieties were especially affected. ‘If you’re carrying too much fruit, it shows with dilute, washed out wines,’ says Arista winemaker Matt Courtney. ‘Over-cropping sticks out like a sore thumb with those Burgundian varieties.’ There are plenty of Pinot Noirs that lack color, aroma and flavor. Many Chardonnays are neutral in character and have very tangy acidities without much fruit support. Later-ripening varieties can be quite soft or feel over-extracted and manipulated, as if saignée rather than viticulture was used to concentrate the wines made from unripe grapes. The least successful wines this year are inherently boring and will not age, despite their high acidities—there’s just no fruit to carry them forward.

    Noteworthy Producers

    Some producers made potential ‘career’ wines in 2018, and the lineup of wines from Kistler and Dumol are the best I have ever tasted. Although I have only tried one 2018 from Occidental, I suspect Steve Kistler’s 2018s will be some of the most exciting of the vintage, due to their unique character and terroir expression—these are detailed, pure, crystalline Pinot Noirs. There are some incredibly promising wines from Jesse Katz’s Aperture—the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley is very compelling. Hirsch excelled in this cooler vintage, and the wines are crystalline, pure and singular in character. As always, Paul Hobbs has crafted a gorgeous lineup of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that continued to improve after four or five days of being open. 

  • 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 94 Points

    Wine Review Online

    by Rich Cook
    August 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley

    “Bursting with notes of strawberry and cherry, this is a crowd-pleasing dry Rosé that just goes on and on. MacRostie is famous for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but now it seems Rosé is getting in on that class act.”

  • Wine With…Pork Chops Dijonnaise

    Wine Review Online

    by Marguerite Thomas
    August 2020

    “The Wines:  It is somehow satisfying to feature a dish every once in awhile that partners beautifully with a variety of wines, and Pork Chops Dijonnais is one of those recipes.  The wines that did not fare well here were, first, a big, tannic, oaky red that overwhelmed the soft, creamy sauce. A tart Sauvignon Blanc didn’t fare well either. I’ve liked this type of refreshing white wine with other dishes, but in this case, its relatively high acidity got screechy in the company of the comparatively rich, mellow mustard sauce. But these three paired up very nicely:

    2018 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay  

    Like the Chappellet Pinot Noir, this luscious Chardonnay is lithe and versatile. Its creamy texture, zesty fruit flavors and minerality all wrap deliciously around the taste and texture of the racy sauce.”

  • 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 92 Points

    Wine Review Online

    by Rich Cook
    August 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley

    “The parade of exceptional Pinot Noir Rosé wines crossing my desk continues with this offering from a favorite producer of mine. It gets right to a lively mix of citrus, peach, and strawberry, and leaves those notes dancing on the palate in an extended fashion. The pigmentation was provided by a 50/50 combination of direct-to-press and saignée maceration methods, performed on fruit largely sourced from Thale’s Vineyard. This delivers the goods, and does so in high style.” 

  • The Press Democrat – MacRostie Rosé is a ‘Tasty Alternative’

    The Press Democrat

    by Peg Melnik
    August 4, 2020

    “Tasty Alternatives”

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – ★★★★: Highly recommended

    “Layered notes of grapefruit, orange rind, and spice. Crisp acidity. Nice length. Lovely.”

  • 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 94 Points

    Creators.com

    by Robert Whitley 
    August 4, 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 94 Points

    “Bursting with notes of strawberry and cherry, this is a crowd-pleasing dry rose that just goes on and on. MacRostie is famous for its chardonnay and pinot noir, but now it seems rose is getting in on that class act.”

    Looking ahead at the 2019s, this was another cool year that has plenty of similarities to 2018, if not even a touch more freshness and acidity. I’ll taste these in-depth next year, but certainly, this will be another strong vintage for all of the Central Coast.

    The Wines

    While I was forced to cancel all my oversea trips due to COVID-19, I was able to drive to the Central Coast late in June of 2019 and do large AVA tastings as well as a handful of visits, which I tried to keep to a minimum. I hope you enjoy these wines as much as I enjoyed tasting through them and writing the report!”

  • Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide – 2018 MacRostie Tollini Vineyard Chardonnay Redwood Valley

    Wine Enthusiast

    by Jim Gordon
    October 2020

    2018 MacRostie Tollini Vineyard Chardonnay Redwood Valley – 90 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “This wine offers subtle oak and a whole lot of butter to give it a rich, palate-clinging expression. It is full bodied, creamy in texture and has a lingering buttery finish.”

    Looking ahead at the 2019s, this was another cool year that has plenty of similarities to 2018, if not even a touch more freshness and acidity. I’ll taste these in-depth next year, but certainly, this will be another strong vintage for all of the Central Coast.

    The Wines

    While I was forced to cancel all my oversea trips due to COVID-19, I was able to drive to the Central Coast late in June of 2019 and do large AVA tastings as well as a handful of visits, which I tried to keep to a minimum. I hope you enjoy these wines as much as I enjoyed tasting through them and writing the report!”

  • Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide – 2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley

    Wine Enthusiast

    by Virginie Boone
    October 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé Russian River Valley – 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

    “Rich and viscous, this wine is fruity in strawberry and dark cherry, with an herbal underbelly that contrasts well. While lush and opulent, it finishes crisp and clean.”

    Looking ahead at the 2019s, this was another cool year that has plenty of similarities to 2018, if not even a touch more freshness and acidity. I’ll taste these in-depth next year, but certainly, this will be another strong vintage for all of the Central Coast.

    The Wines

    While I was forced to cancel all my oversea trips due to COVID-19, I was able to drive to the Central Coast late in June of 2019 and do large AVA tastings as well as a handful of visits, which I tried to keep to a minimum. I hope you enjoy these wines as much as I enjoyed tasting through them and writing the report!”

  • 2018 MacRostie Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley – 92 Points

    JebDunnuck.com

    by Jeb Dunnuck
    August 4, 2020

    2018 MacRostie Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley – 92 Points: Outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seeking out.

    “All destemmed and brought up in 46% new French oak, the 2018 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard has a pure, almost pretty, medium-bodied style that highlights its strawberry and raspberry fruit over the classic marine-influence of this site. Showing more floral and spice notes with time in the glass, it’s nicely balanced, has ripe, polished tannins and terrific balance, and should continue drinking nicely for 7-8 years.” 

    “The 2018s from Santa Barbara County” 

    “This report focuses on the 2018s from Santa Barbara County, but also includes a handful of late release 2017s (and even some 2016s) as well as a few wines from additional regions in California. Many producers in Santa Barbara County make wines from other areas of California, and I’m able to taste those wines during this trip. Rather than saving those reviews for a later report, I’ve opted to publish them sooner rather than later.

    The 2018 Vintage

    Throughout California, the 2018 vintage was a long, cooler, and even growing season that presented few challenges. The year got off to a cool start, followed by plenty of early season heat in July, then a colder than average ripening period in August, September, and October. Harvest was the latest since 2011. The grapes had loads of hang time, and the critical ripening period occurred under cooler temperatures. Yields were slightly up over 2017 and close to average, and growers had easy harvest decisions with no heat spikes or rain events.

    I loved tasting through these wines. The style isn’t far off the 2016s (with maybe a splash of 2010), with the wines showing beautiful purity of fruit as well as ripe tannins, good concentration, and solid underlying structure. Alcohol levels are down over 2017 and acid levels are up, yet the wines have terrific depth of fruit as well as supple, elegant textures. The cooler ripening period also resulted in terrific aromatics, and these are fresh, lively wines across the board. The wines don’t have the same level of sunny, sexy fruit found in the 2017s (and to a lesser extent, the 2016s), but they still have plenty of opulence and texture. In addition, the wines show classic characteristics and regional and site-specific characters.

    From a consumer standpoint, this is an easy vintage to understand, and quality is both high and consistent. You can’t go wrong with the 2018s, and the vintage is unquestionably in the list of top vintages for the region, including 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. There are gorgeous Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from Santa Maria and the Sta. Rita Hills, loads of Rhône blends and Syrahs from Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez, and more and more, incredibly high-quality Bordeaux blends from Santa Ynez and the Happy Canyon region of Santa Barbara County.

    Looking ahead at the 2019s, this was another cool year that has plenty of similarities to 2018, if not even a touch more freshness and acidity. I’ll taste these in-depth next year, but certainly, this will be another strong vintage for all of the Central Coast.

    The Wines

    While I was forced to cancel all my oversea trips due to COVID-19, I was able to drive to the Central Coast late in June of 2019 and do large AVA tastings as well as a handful of visits, which I tried to keep to a minimum. I hope you enjoy these wines as much as I enjoyed tasting through them and writing the report!”

  • 2017 MacRostie Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 90 Points: Outstanding; a wine of superior character and style

    Wine Spectator

    by Kim Marcus
    May 31, 2020

    “Very crisp, with leafy accents to the dried red fruit and spice flavors. Hints of cinnamon emerge midpalate, revealing a finish that lingers with cocoa powder accents. Drink now through 2023.”

    2017 MacRostie Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 90 Points: Outstanding; a wine of superior character and style

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

    Wine Review Online

    by Rich Cook
    July 21, 2020

    “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.”

    ·As a result of submitting samples, Kim Marcus recommended the 2017 MacRostie Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (90 Points) in Wine Spectator (circulation: 397,253). He described the wine as “very crisp.”

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