After just about 30 years of making wine in Sonoma County, MacRostie Winery has a beautiful tasting room they can call their own. For years they made all of their wine in Sonoma’s warehouse district, and most of it is still in fact made there. During those years if you wanted to visit the winery you made an appointment and headed over to the warehouse.
That’s something I’ve done in the past long before I was writing about wine, because I was a fan. There was a time when I avoided chardonnay from California, almost like the plague. Too many of them were over-oaked, overwrought, and simply tasted more like their oak regimen than the fruit. So it’s fair to say that I was firmly in the Anything But Chardonnay camp, at least with California wines. Then one day about 15 years ago, as if dropped from the heavens I tasted a bottle of MacRostie’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.
It stopped me dead in my tracks; not only was it labelled chardonnay, it tasted like it too! So I started drinking it regularly and even ventured out to drink other California chardonnays after some time.
Now, of course, the needle has moved the other way and the style I was avoiding is thankfully in the minority. But through it all MacRostie has been making fine wines in their own, genuine style
On my most recent trip to California I made an appointment to taste at their new Estate House. I was eager to taste their latest releases, say hi to founder Steve MacRostie again and check out their new digs. While most of the wine is still made in the original winery, they do have a working winery on site where they produce their pinot noirs.
The experience at MacRostie is exceptional. From the moment I stepped out of my car I was greeted by a welcome wine, until I was bid farewell on the way out the door I had a fantastic time.
To begin with, the room is warm and inviting with a welcoming wine country feel. There are a number of spots you can sit with different types of seating both inside and out. A lot will depend on your group size and some will depend on where you’re going to be most comfortable. The unvarnished truth is it would remarkably difficult not to feel at home anywhere on their property. There are several tasting options in a number of price levels and options that are suited for both small and larger groups. Some involve food pairing and a personal wine ambassador for the length of your stay.
The experience at the MacRostie Estate House is as good as the wine has always been, which is to say fabulous. Head over to their website the next time you’re going to be in Sonoma and pick the tasting option that best suits you, but by all means pay them a visit so you can taste these wonderful wines.
MacRostie Winery 2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $25
I was handed this wine as I approached the winery and it was just like greeting an old friend. As always this chardonnay is made in a very approachable and food friendly style. The fruit shines forth with pear and apple aromas dominating the nose. Those characteristics carry through the fruit driven palate along with bit of spice. The long finish shows continued fruit, minerals, and spice. If you’re looking for MacRostie wines on the shelf at home this is the one you’ll most often find and it’ll sell for closer to $20, which is a steal.
MacRostie Winery 2013 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay, $32
The fruit was all sourced at one of the most famous chardonnay vineyards in Sonoma County. Hints of smoke emerge from the nose along with copious amounts of golden delicious apple. Anjou pear, continued apple notes, apricot and spice are all present on the remarkably sumptuous palate. Bits of caramel, vanilla, crème fraiche, and more emerge on the long and lusty finish. Good luck putting this down once you start drinking it.
MacRostie Winery 2013 Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay, $40
The fruit for this comes from one of their Estate vineyards. Tons of citrus aromas fill the nose here. The palate is layered and simply gorgeous. Orchard fruit flavors are tinged with bits of stone and tropical fruit flavors. There is a depth and complexity here from the first whiff to the last note of the long, reverberating finish that adds to the gravitas of this offering. It’s a thinking man’s chardonnay. So pair it with an equally complex dish or sit in the corner and contemplate life with this wine. Either way it’s remarkably delicious.
MacRostie Winery 2012 Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir, $48
Red fruit aromas tinged with bit of black cherry lead the way. Those elements along with cinnamon, hints of cola and more are all evident on the substantial palate. Continuing spices, minerals, a touch of red earth emerge on the finish. Racy acid keeps it all in check. This Estate offering is a little bit bigger shouldered than the other pinot’s I tasted here. However it carries that additional weight well from the first aromas on the inviting nose through the impressively long finish.
MacRostie Winery 2013 Cummings Vineyard Pinot Noir, $56
Black cherry and wild strawberry aromas are laced throughout the welcoming nose. The palate is stuffed with a core of red fruit flavors, bits of savory herbs, and a gentle hint of jalapeno. This classic example of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir shows off sour red fruits, hints of bay leave and gentle wisps of cocoa on the long, lush finish.