Situated on a rural farmhouse lane in Healdsburg, the recently constructed 4,400 square foot building stands tall in front of the rows & rows of grape vines.
A small batch appointment only vineyard, the tasting room is kitty corner to the family home, both with awesome views of the land beyond.
I had heard about Macphail Family Wines, a newer wine label, through friends & had already had many pleasant conversation with the General Manager, Jim Morris, on various social media platforms. Time to look into the whites of each other’s eyes while we chat.
I met Lauren, the Tasting Room Manager late in the afternoon. Perfect time to watch the sun go down after sippin’.
Mission – To choose a wine for the Holiday table.
This year, I am hosting 3 different family meals over the holidays. I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food…..hardy har har. But this stuff is far too yummy to cook with. Always share with friends.
First, a tour of the tasting room & various goodies. Lauren had us take a look in the barrel room where the juice had recently been moved in the last few weeks. 270 oak barrels from 14 French coopers stack to the ceiling. Next was a wine-making process breakdown by the stainless steel fermentors reviewing their techniques for making such fine Sonoma County wines.
We viewed a small kitchen with wine bar & cool oenophile scientific testing spot. The wine bar had a nice window overlooking the family home so we also got a brief history of the small family winery roots. Built on land that includes a unique constructed wetland that reclaims all of the winery waste-water, James Macphail, launched the brand in 2002.
The owner & winemaker, James lives in the home adjacent to the winery tasting room in Healdsburg. With the recent popularity & quick growth due to the aforementioned success, the winery will soon be opening a tasting room in Sebastopol at the popular new wino spot at The Barlow.
With terrific Pinot Noir neighbors like Kosta Browne & Claypool Cellars…It will be a terrific stop for another Pinot-phile here in Sonoma Wine Country. I recently saw a photo of the window art going up on their niche for The Barlow. I’m looking forward to attending their Grand Opening and raising a glass.
Lauren positioned a nice line up of the Macphail California Pinot Noir (a girl after my own heart), a nice Rose’ as well as a lovely Chardonnay to start. Red was the name of the game – time to start tasting. *Clink *Clink.
My fave of the line up ended up being the Pinot from the Southern California vineyard. Go figure with me being such a Sonomad. Macphail is a modest family winery specializing in small lots from single vineyards – awesome for us true Pinot fans. Jim joined Lauren and I for the wine flights, rough life indeed.
Sitting down at a beautiful table positioned on the fermenting room, we started with the white of course. The fermenting room at Macphail was built according to the specific needs and sizes of the fermentors required by the winery. Everything looks like it has a perfect place. Absolute minimal intervention is the foundation of winemaking here and the tanks are laid out for it.
On to the Chardonnay – near Cotati at about 300-800 above sea level…Nice start. The proximity to the Petaluma Gap allows for a late September or October harvesting. Straw color, lemon scented and taste accents with a crispness I enjoyed. Good cleansing wine. I understand that the current demand exceeds the production. Doesn’t sound like a problem for a winery. Ha.
We then tasted the Rose which is in very small production and was quite refreshing and cleansing to the palate. Next, moved to the three Pinot choices that Lauren had poured for the day. Fave of the three was the 2011 Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills.
This Pinot was very different from the others we tasted. I tasted some cola, leather and raspberry with a dark cherry note that I loved. It was silky and a big pinot with maybe licorice too. At a nice high elevation with the nice cool ocean breeze, the Santa Rita Hill location seems a good one to me.
2010 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2010 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
2010 Wildcat Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2010 The Flyer Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
2012 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
All made the list of wines to sip this day as well…
Again funny that the Sonoma County gal choose a Southern California wine, I guess I can blame all that Santa Barbara life in college. After living in So. Cal for many years in my 20’s, maybe it is just me re-living good times in Cali vicariously through my wine. Cheers all