Reviews – Chardonnay

  • “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.”

  • 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.”  

  • 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. 

  • 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.”

  • Wine & Spirits Year’s Best California Chardonnays

    Wine & Spirits Magazine

    October Issue

    92 | MacRostie 2018 Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay $46 (not yet released)

    91 | MacRostie 2017 Sonoma Coast The Key Chardonnay $65

    91 | MacRostie 2018 Russian River Valley Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay $46 (not yet released)

    91 | MacRostie 2018 Sonoma Coast The Key Chardonnay $65 (not yet released)

  • 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!”

  • 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.”

  • 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

  • 2019 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc

    The Press Democrat 

    by Peg Melnik
    June 9, 2020

    “Tasty Alternatives” 

    2019 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc – ★★★ ½: Good

    “Citrusy flavors play up front with tropical flavors playing back up. Seamless texture. Nice length. Smart.”

    Download full 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.
    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 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.”

    Download Pinot Noir Review

    Download Chardonnay Review

  • 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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  • 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.”


    2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

    92 Points, Wine Advocate
    “The 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay offers a great intensity of fresh, pure apple and white peach aromas with hints of baker’s yeast and allspice plus a waft of honeysuckle. Medium to full-bodied and delivering mouth-filling stone fruit and spice flavors, it has a satiny texture and great length. Totally over-delivers at this price point! 18,227 cases produced.” —Lisa Perrotti-Brown, April 27, 2018

    Editors’ Choice, 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Full of melon and crème brûlée richness, this is a delightfully lush white from grapes grown across the appellation. It shows layered concentration and strong, lingering flavors of pineapple and caramel.” —Virginie Boone, November 13, 2018


    2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

    90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    “This desirable appellation wine hails from several well-farmed vineyards, including the producer’s hillside Wildcat Mountain site in the Petaluma Gap. Apple blossom aromas lead to a taut body of ripe, balanced fruit—an exploration of pineapple and mango that’s food-friendly, with high-toned acidity.” —Virginie Boone, December 2017

    90 Points, Wine Advocate
    My personal go-to white at my local supermarket, the 2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is real Chardonnay class at a bargain price. It opens with notes of grapefruit, peaches and cream and honeyed toast with a touch of pineapple. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is purely fruited with a lovely suggestion of creaminess plus great intensity and length. With nearly 22,000 cases produced, I’m happy to report there should be loads of this to go around! —Lisa Perrotti-Brown, March 1, 2017


    2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

    92 Points, Wine Review Online
    This wine would surely win over even the anti-Chardonnay folks. Its savory dryness is balanced by fresh fruitiness, especially apple and citrusy elements, while the oak presence is more like a dash of spice than a heavy layer of flavor. The sublime duality of richness and delicacy, plus the wine’s palate embracing texture, is what truly sets MacRostie Chardonnay apart from the competition. – Marquerite Thomas, April 19, 2016

    90 Points, Wine Spectator
    “Presents a delicious core of vibrant grapefruit and lemon-laced tangerine and white peach notes. Those who value zesty acidity will love this, as the acidity keeps the flavors fresh and jumping. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.” – James Laube, January 2016

    90 Points, The Tasting Panel
    Fresh and smooth with ripe fruit and creamy texture; rich and balanced with a firm core of acidity; mellow and long. —Anthony Dias Blue, Feb. 1, 2016


    2015 Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay

    91 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Golden-honey and pear flavors combine effortlessly in this lovely wine from the famous vineyard, which neighbors this producer along the appellation’s Westside Road. Moderate acidity freshens a bold full-bodied approach defined by its backbone of smooth integrated oak.” —Virginie Boone, November 2017

    90 Points, Wine Spectator
    Pleasantly subtle without sacrificing density and complexity, this offers zesty citrus, green apple, melon and light oak notes. Drink now through 2020. — James Laube, June 15, 2017

    91 Points, Wine Advocate
    The 2015 Chardonnay Bacigalupi Vineyard is intensely scented of pineapple and guava with underlying butterscotch, brioche and toasted almond notes. It fills the medium-bodied palate with tropical fruit flavors, supported by racy acidity and finishing creamy, with great persistence. — Lisa Perrotti-Brown, April 28, 2017


    2016 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay

    91 points, Wine Spectator
    “ Effusively fruity, with tangerine, nectarine, green pineapple and mango flavors. Offers a light touch of spicy oak and a long, mouthwatering aftertaste. Drink now through 2020.” —Jim Laube, June 2018

    90+ Points, Wine Advocate
    “The 2016 Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard opens with cedar-laced ripe apples and poached pears notes with hints of peach blossoms and toasted almonds. It fills the medium to full-bodied mouth with spiced apple flavors and features a refreshing line and toasty finish. 234 cases produced.” —Lisa Perrotti-Brown, April 27, 2018


    2015 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay

    93 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Shy in its voluptuousness at first, this wine is taut in lemon and hazelnut goodness, with soft subtle oak in support of the fruit. A persistent streak of grapefruit intensity adds further freshness and vibrancy to the core of overall complexity and smooth, rounded richness.” — Virginie Boone, May 2018


    2016 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

    92 Points, Wine Advocate

    93 Points, Wine Review Online
    “Very fresh Chardonnay, with rich apple, softly spiced pear and zesty lemon brightness in both aroma and flavor, finishing very bright and long. Thanks to Goldridge soils and the coolness of the Green Valley area, bright acid gives great finish push and leaves you with a clean, refreshed impression.” —Rich Cook, December 4, 2018


    2015 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

    93 Points, Wine Enthusiast Advance Buying Guide
    “Salty oak and brine mark the opening of this full-bodied white, which offers a sinewy texture of lingering Asian spice. Lemon meringue and apple contribute fruit-forward flavor around an herbal note and plenty of toasted oak.” — Virginie Boone, May 2018


    2014 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

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

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

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


    2015 Goldrock Ridge Chardonnay

    91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
    “This is from an extreme coastal site high above the town of Annapolis, a study in ocean-driven minerality and lift. A small production, it offers lengthy acidity and moderately toasty oak beneath a well of white peach, lemon and briny sea stone.” —Virginie Boone, June 2018


    2016 Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay

    93 Points, Wine Spectator
    “A juicy, citrus-driven effort, with a core of green apple, lemon-lime, white peach and tangerine flavors, this has zesty acidity and a mouthwatering personality that makes it easy to reach for the second and third glass. Drink now through 2022.” —Jim Laube, June 2018

    90 Points, Wine Advocate
    “The 2016 Chardonnay Kent Ritchie Vineyard gives up intense grapefruit, guava and green mango scents with suggestions of baking bread and beeswax. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a racy acid backbone lifting the tropical flavors to a nice, long finish. 261 cases produced.” —Lisa Perrotti-Brown, April 27, 2018