The Genesis of the MacRostie Sparkling Wine Program | MacRostie Winery
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The Genesis of the MacRostie Sparkling Wine Program
By Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen
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The truth is, life is just better with some bubbles in it!
Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen

With the release of our highly anticipated 2019 MacRostie Sparkling Brut, we now have four delicious vintages of sparkling wine under our belt, which makes it an ideal time to reflect on how our sparkling wine program began, and where it’s headed next. The genesis for our sparkling wine program began when Brand Director Don Davis and I were sharing a glass of Champagne back in 2016. As we talked about how much we both love French Champagne and Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast sparkling wines it naturally led to the question, “Why are we not making a sparkling wine?!”

Making a great bubbly isn’t easy, but as a winery that has spent 35 years focused on cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—which are the two key grapes from making a great sparkler—it was a natural decision for our team and something that we were excited to try. As I did my homework and talked to numerous winemakers who make both Champagnes and California sparkling wines my enthusiasm for the project grew and grew.

One of the biggest challenges of making a great sparkling wine, is the patience required. From the time we pick the grapes until the final wine is released, it takes approximately three years to make a MacRostie sparkling wine. To ensure that the grapes we use are ideal for making a complex and compelling bubbly, we have designated sections of Pinot Noir from our Thale’s Estate Vineyard and Chardonnay from the famed Sangiacomo Vineyard specifically for our sparkling program. We generally pick our Chardonnay for sparkling wine at a modest 17º to 18º Brix, with our Pinot harvested between 20º and 23º Brix. While the Brix is important, we also carefully evaluate acidity, to ensure our sparkling wines are fresh, vibrant, and aromatic. From there we do three different levels of press cuts for each varietal, which provides us with different aromas, flavors, and textures at the blending table. Once the wines go through fermentation, we create the foundational base blend, which is then put in bottle under crown cap for 30 months of aging en tirage. From there, the wine is disgorged and we begin dosage. Dosage is where we gently adjust the sweetness and flavors of the wine, while also bringing the bottles to proper fill level.

To date, we have made two different kinds of sparkling wine: a vintage Brut and a Brut Rosé, both of which are blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. While we have been thrilled with these wines, in the 2020 vintage we decided to do something new and showcase the character and complexity of our Chardonnay on its own by crafting a Blanc de Blancs. We will also be spotlighting our Pinot Noir as an alluring Blanc de Noirs.

Whether we are pouring our sparkling wines as a special treat at our MacRostie Estate House or offering them in special sparkling wine holiday gift sets, our sparkling wines have become a huge hit with our members and customers. And while sparkling wines are always great for celebrations or the holidays, I am also thrilled to see that more and more wine lovers are discovering how enjoyable sparkling wine is as an any day, any time of year wine. The truth is, life is just better with some bubbles in it!

January 25, 2023
Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili
Pairing & Pouring

Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili

Pair with any MacRostie Pinot Noir. The cool winter weather is here and nothing is tastier (and warms you right up!) than a bowl of white chicken chili. RECIPE CREDIT: […]

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November 20, 2022
Fall Harvest Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad
Pairing & Pouring

Fall Harvest Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad

Pair with any MacRostie Chardonnay. Nothing screams fall more than the perfect autumn salad featuring all the seasonal flavors. RECIPE CREDIT: HALF-BAKED HARVEST Ingredients 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil […]

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