Labor Day is history. In some parts of the country, early morning temps have dipped into the mid 40°s. But just as daytime drinkers might remark that “It’s 5:00pm somewhere!” summer persists for many of us, in our hearts. These very good renditions of rosé and Sauvignon Blanc are for those who share that persuasion.
You might have caught past columns of mine reviewing red wines by MacRostie — Pinot Noir and Syrah. MacRostie is a fine, reliable winery whose wines I have enjoyed for years.
The 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir is a wine that I particularly like. It carries the appellation “Sonoma Coast” because its grapes come from both Russian River Valley and the Petaluma Gap. The former source is a special block of MacRostie’s Thale’s Estate Vineyard; the latter is the winery’s newest property, Nightwing Vineyard. The wine is dry and medium-bodied, with high acidity, very little tannin, and lots of flavor. Aromas and flavors suggest raspberries, red cherries and strawberries (the winemaker mentions a tropical note of mango, too). If you resist the temptation to just drink the wine down and instead you hold this wine in your mouth to taste it critically, you might be surprised by a sleek note of minerality as well — a rosé to be reckoned with. While you’re at it, notice the concentration of flavor, especially on the wine’s finish.
To produce this wine, winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen combined two classic rosé techniques. Some of the juice (36 percent) came directly from pressed grapes to produce pale color, firm structure, and delicate, fresh fruit expression. The remaining 64 percent derived from the “saignée” method, receiving two to 48 hours of skin contact before being “bled” off from the skins. Stainless steel was the primary medium for fermentation, but 14 percent of the juice fermented in neutral oak for roundness. Complicated as this all might seem, the wine comes together seamlessly.
While I was savoring the rosé, my tasting partner became excited by the Sauvignon Blanc for its true varietal expression. “Clockwise" is a small-lot wine from MacRostie’s winery-within-a winery. The 2021 has three vineyard sources in Russian River Valley, including Dutton’s Jewell Ranch which is planted to the ‘Musque” clone that produces tropical-fruited aromas and flavors. Although this wine has nothing fancy in its production — whole clusters of grapes pressed directly, stainless steel fermentation, and no malolactic conversion — it is not a simple, crisp, straight-line SB. The texture is soft and creamy, for one thing, with the wine’s high acidity cutting through that texture this way and that for fun. Ripe aromas of yellow apple and honeysuckle meet lean notes of tart lime on the palate. Like the rosé, this wine has lots of flavor.
Lingering summer or not, these wines are both worth trying.
2021 MacRostie Rosé of Pinot Noir, 92 Points
2021 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc, 90 Points