Member Wine Release intro image
Member Wine Release

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the 2021 harvest has begun in earnest, offering us idyllic conditions for picking our grapes. For the most part we’ve been enjoying 80º to 85º F days, with cool nighttime temperatures of about 55º F. These cool nights help the grapes achieve ideal phenological ripeness, without the grapes accumulating too much sugar. While the quality of our grapes has been exceptional so far, another year of drought in California has resulted in a smaller-than-normal Chardonnay crop, with small, concentrated berries. Even so, following few more challenging vintages, the quality and pace of this year’s harvest has been a real treat.

Speaking of treats, the highlight of this club release is without a doubt the unveiling of our 2019 The Key Chardonnay. Now in its sixth vintage, our master blend of Chardonnay is a stunning wine with heady, perfumed aromas of fresh gardenia, lime zest, ripe pear and honeycomb. On the palate, it is both sumptuous and sophisticated, with a generous layered complexity that allows the floral and fruit flavors to achieve a radiant depth. Sourced from such famed vineyards as Olivet Lane, Bacigalupi, Frost Ranch, Dale Ricci Vineyard and the Dutton family’s Braughton and Shop vineyards,

The Key was named as a nod to our founder Steve MacRostie’s experiences as a cryptographer deciphering codes in Europe for the U.S. Army. Artfully crafted from our best blocks and barrels of wine from the exceptional 2019 vintage, it is already showing beautifully. This said, if you have the patience to lay down this cellar-worthy treasure, you’ll be rewarded.

Very best wishes,
Winemaker – MacRostie Winery and Vineyards

2019 Dutton Ranch

The Dutton family has been growing grapes in the Russian River Valley for generations. Their fruit is highly prized, as their knowledge of the land and meticulous farming have resulted in exceptional consistency and quality over the years. The grapes for this Chardonnay came exclusively from vineyards farmed by the Dutton family in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Aged with a modest 25% new French oak, the result is a beautifully vibrant Chardonnay with aromas of apricot, jasmine and ripe green melon. On the palate, it displays a lovely underlying richness, with luxurious notes of pie crust and lemon curd mingling with stone fruit and melon flavors as it draws to a long, lush finish.

2019 Charles Heintz Vineyard

Charles Heintz has been growing coveted Chardonnay grapes for decades. His namesake vineyard is located in the westernmost part of the Russian River Valley, making it our coolest climate site. Charlie himself has said, “It’s like growing Chardonnay in a rain cloud out here.” A classic expression of cool-climate Russian River Valley Chardonnay, this sleek and radiant wine displays luscious honey and yellow apple aromas. These elements are echoed on the smooth, supple palate, where they mingle with hints of earthy minerality, chalk and fresh-cut hay, which add depth and complexity to the long, vibrant finish.

2018 Manzana Vineyard

The grapes for this Pinot Noir came exclusively from Manzana Vineyard, which is farmed by the renowned Dutton Family. The Duttons have been growing grapes in Sonoma County— specifically the Russian River Valley—for generations. Because they are known for their meticulous farming and consistent quality vintage after vintage, their fruit is highly prized. This wine displays an opulent, dense purple-red color, and enticing aromas of plum, with earthy undertones. On the palate, it strikes a lovely balance between firm, rich tannins and a supple, round mouthfeel.

2019 Olivet Lane

Planted by the Pellegrini family in 1975, today, Olivet Lane is managed by the fourth generation of the family to be involved in winegrowing. Planted in the Santa Rosa Plains neighborhood of the Russian River Valley on an undulating benchland of well-drained, gravelly, clay loam soil, the foundation of this wine is the coveted Martini selection. This heritage clone, which has played a pivotal role in some of California’s greatest Pinot Noirs, has produced a bright and vivacious wine with lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and dried flowers, as well as subtle hints of toasty oak from barrel aging. The dark berry and floral layers are echoed on the energetic palate, where the flavors glide to a long, creamy finish.

2019 Day Ranch

This stunning Pinot comes from Day Ranch in Mendocino County’s renowned Anderson Valley. Located just 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the cool “Deep End” of the valley, Day Ranch is planted on an alluvial terrace that abuts a mountainside. This wild, rustic terroir always yields a complex and distinctive expression of Pinot Noir and the 2019 vintage is no exception. Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels—43% new and 29% one-year-old—to enhance the deep color and broaden the palate, this lovely wine offers vibrant red berry layers, as well as blackberry and bramble flavors and more mellow notes of sage and red peppercorns.

2019 Hellenthal Vineyard

Hellenthal Vineyard is owned by Gard Hellenthal, one of the pioneers in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation. Located just miles from the Pacific Ocean, the vineyard reaches towering elevations of more than 1,000 feet, where the vines sit above the fog layer giving them the warmth to fully ripen and develop ideal flavors. At the same time, the cool maritime breezes moderate the heat. Always one of our most vintage-specific wines, the 2019 Hellenthal Pinot Noir displays an array of delicate aromas including rose petals and red currant. On the palate, it remains graceful and complex, with inviting flavors of red licorice, pencil shavings, cranberry and spice leaving a lasting impression on the bright, nuanced finish.

2019 Klopp Ranch

The father-daughter team of Ted and Lauren Klopp have been farming in the Russian River Valley for over two decades. Their home ranch is on Laguna Road, where the vines are tucked away in the nook of a foggy valley. Our rows are planted to the Pommard Clone in rich, fertile Goldridge soils, where the vines produce small, intensely flavorful clusters of grapes. Our 2019 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir is an opulent wine with gorgeous layers of ripe black cherry and cocoa, with black plum flavors emerging as the wine flows to a long, luxurious finish.

2019 Rodgers Creek

The acclaimed Rodgers Creek Vineyard is perched at an elevation of 1,000 feet overlooking the city of Petaluma. Named for the Rodgers Fault, it is a rugged, west-facing site that benefits from rocky volcanic soils, and the steady cooling winds that flow through the Petaluma Gap. The resulting wine offers distinctly earthy, almost “animal” aromas complemented by enticing layers of cherry and cola. On the palate it is lush and juicy, revealing ripe plum and red berry flavors underscored by velvety tannins that carry the wine to a long, supple finish.

September 27, 2021
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