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PRESS HIGHLIGHTS

Highlights

  • “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 – 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

  • 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

  • “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.’”

  • “Wines For The Man In Your Life”

    South Florida Reporter
    by Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr
    June 14, 2020

    “We don’t think anyone will dispute the fact that the last several months have been challenging. For many the challenge has been struggling with a virus that maims and kills. For others, the challenge has been coping with financial stress. Perhaps there is little to celebrate, but we like to look on the bright side. Better times are ahead. Let’s celebrate what we have.

    Father’s Day is just around the corner and there is probably a man in your life who has braved exposure to the virus in order to keep food on the table. Maybe he is a doctor, a police officer, fireman, teacher, truck driver, grocery worker who has saved lives and risked personal danger to provide for our families. Let’s show the love.

    Below we list some expensive wines – and a few not so expensive – that would make great Father’s Day gifts. Add a steak for him to grill and we are confident he will be a happy man.

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley 

    In a flight of chardonnays, this one stood out for its austerity. Aged in oak in just 17 percent new barrels, there is just a kiss of oak flavors. That plus only some malolatic fermentation and you have a clean, unadorned chardonnay that goes well with food. Tropical fruit flavors.”

    Download Article here

  • “New Releases From California And Oregon – MacRostie, Far Niente, Abbot’s Passage, And Argyle”

    “This winery in Carneros Sonoma was founded in 1987 by Steve MacRostie, one of the early proponents of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Sonoma County. The winery today offers numerous examples of these two varietals from single vineyards located in several AVA in Sonoma, such as Russian River Valley. Petaluma Gap and Sonoma Coast, as well as other regions in California. Heidi Bridenhagen is the winemaker, and is involved with MacRostie in finding the best vineyards from which they can source outstanding fruit each season.

    FORBES.com
    by Tom Hyland
    May 27, 2020

    2019 MacRostie Pinot Noir Rosé – Excellent

    Deep orange/coral hue; aromas of orange jelly and watermelon. Medium-bodied, this has impressive texture and a dry finish with notable persistence. I love the complexity and character of this rosé! Enjoy over the next two years. 

    2018 MacRostie Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay – Very Good

    Light yellow; aromas of vanilla, golden apples, mango and pineapple. Medium-full, with good concentration, this offers good freshness and pleasant tropical fruit, but lacks complexity. Good acidity, moderate wood notes. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. 

    2018 MacRostie Mirabelle Vineyard Chardonnay – Outstanding

    Bright, light yellow; inviting aromas of lemon zest, red apples, and saffron with a subtle note of honey. Medium-full with very good concentration. Lengthy finish, very good acidity, excellent varietal purity, impressive complexity and balance. The wood notes are nicely integrated and the overall wine is very appealing and delicious. Lengthy finish with subtle notes of almond in the finish. Enjoy over the next 3-5 years. 

    2017 MacRostie Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir – Very Good

    Delicate garnet; red cherry, strawberry, beet, delicate wood. Medium-full with very good concentration. Subdued style, nicely balanced, but I’d prefer a bit more fruit definition. 3-5 years. 

    2017 MacRostie Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir – Excellent

    Delicate garnet; cola, bing cherry, marjoram. Medium-full, impressive complexity, medium-weight tannins, excellent persistence, good acidity and a nice sense of finesse. Enjoy over the next 5-7 years.”

    Download MacRostie Reviews

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

    The Press Democrat 

    by Peg Melnik
    May 19, 2020

    “Tasty Alternatives” 

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – ★★★★: Highly recommended

    “An earthy pinot with depth of flavor. Notes of blueberry, toast and a hint of mushroom. Full-bodied and balanced. Lovely.”

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

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

    Wine Review Online 

    by Rich Cook
    May 19, 2020

    “A favorite Chardonnay producer scores yet again with a crisp, lively expression of Dutton Ranch’s tart apple and tropical fruit profile. Rich texture is preserved with 50% malolactic fermentation and some lees stirring while keeping the acidic structure clearly in focus, resulting in lively flavors and a crisp finish that pumps the pineapple character. Delicious!”

    2017 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Chardonnay Russian River Valley

  • Sonoma: Another Brilliant Vintage in 2018

    Seven outstanding wines. These wines are outstanding for their type and are worth the extra effort to seeking out.

    by Jeb Dunnuck
    May 2020

    2018 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 93 Points

    “More complex notes of mulberries, black raspberries, forest floor, bouquet garni, and spice emerge from the 2018 Pinot Noir Wildcat Mountain. Beautifully textured and medium-bodied, with a great mid-palate and silky tannins, it’s unquestionably an outstanding effort and should easily drink well for 4-6 years or more.”        

    2018 MacRostie Kent Ritchie Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 92 Points

    “From a site in the Russian River and aged in 25% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Kent Ritchie offers lots of toasty and spicy notes as well as orchard fruits, medium body, a pure, clean, soft style, good acidity, and a clean finish. It’s another impeccably made Chardonnay that delivers the goods.”     

    2018 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – 92 Points

    “Brought up in 24% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Wildcat Mountain is another terrific effort. White flowers, toasted spice, peach, and honeysuckle notes all dominate the nose, and it’s fresh and lively, yet also textured and lengthy on the palate.”

    2018 MacRostie Bacigalupi Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 91 Points

    “Last of the Chardonnay, the 2018 Chardonnay Bacigalupi comes from a site on the Russian River Valley and was raised in 22% new French oak. White currants, apple blossom, spice box, and honeyed toast characteristics give way to a soft, juicy, balanced beauty that has good acidity and a clean, elegant style ideal for drinking over the coming 4-5 years.”

    2017 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – 91 Points

    “The translucent ruby-hued 2017 Pinot Noir Thale’s Vineyard was completely destemmed and spent 10 months in 40% new French oak. Coming from a site in the Russian River Valley, it’s made in a more elegant style yet still brings the Russian River fruit profile with lots of cherry and mulled strawberry notes as well as medium body, a core of sweet fruit, and a great finish. It’s another balanced, charming, incredibly delicious Pinot Noir from this estate. Drink it over the coming 3-5 years.”

    2017 MacRostie The Loch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – 91 Points

    “The most expensive release in the lineup, the 2017 Pinot Noir The Loch comes from a site on the Sonoma Coast and was brought up in 40% new French oak, with the balance in once- and twice-used oak. It has a touch more oak yet packs plenty of light cherry and strawberry fruit, subtle spice, medium to full body, a great mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a good finish. I don’t find it considerably better than the other releases here, but it’s still a terrific wine.”

    2018 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay – 90 Points

    “The 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley is in the same ballpark, with beautiful purity of fruit (orchard fruits, white flowers), medium-bodied richness and depth, good acidity, and terrific overall balance. Both of these two appellation blends are terrific wines well worth seeking out.”

    Download MacRostie Reviews

  • 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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