There is a boutique winery in Sonoma creag small production, high quality, incredibly juicy Pinot Noir. Vision Cellars was created in 1995, with 1997 being their first release, by Mac McDonald. Mac started with a desire to find great grapes and make great wine. He knew from childhood he wanted to make wine…influenced by his Texas roots. His dad was a moonshiner and mom would make wine out of any fruit available…Mac gave wine a try one day and fell in love. With one taste he knew his profession would be to make wine.
Today he makes about 4000 total cases, a good number in his opinion….as he doesn’t want to get too big. He uses both grapes he grows, and from growers that find him from Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Marin counties and the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County. He believes if you make good wine, the good fruit will find you, and they do as some of the best growers in California seek him out to make wine from their grapes. And they do.
Mac was in town last week to visit his family, and to participate in a few special dinners including one on the balcony of Kent Rathbun’s new penthouse. The night was breezy, the view was stunning, and the food was tasty, but true pleasure and joy was found through Mac’s inspired wine.
From his crisp 50/50 Grenache/Syrah blend Rose to the elegant Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, the wine delivered.
His Rose philosophy will make any wine lover smile; first because he says that there is a bottle a day requirement within the McDonald household, and second, the best way to drink it is “beer cold.” It is approachable, light and dangerously easy to drink, filled with strawberry and passion fruit.
He makes a California White Wine from Santa Lucia Highlands, marrying 90% Sauvignon Blanc with 10% Pinot Gris. This white is delicate; filled with orange and lemon citrus it pairs well with an Heirloom Tomato salad with grilled Halumi cheese. Somona County Pinot Noir is cherry, blackberry and plum with earthy undertones and intense spice. There is a saying that we eat (and drink) with our eyes first; this was evident with this wine as it has a beautiful bright cherry color, bringing great anticipation for a taste.
His Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is a special wine from the Santa Clara region: Bright, clean berry and cherry aromas, followed by heavenly raspberry and cherry flavors, with lingering sweet spice. This paired beautifully with Niman Ranch pork chops with pickled peaches. Mac’s Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is also fantastic. Gary’s Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands produces some of the best Pinot Noir grapes in California. Mac takes these gorgeous grapes and turns them into a very desirable Pinot Noir, filled with hearty black cherry and ripe plum, with slight hints of earthiness. Only 252 cases are made a year.
Keep your eyes and ears open for future events with Mac and Vision Cellars. Since he has solid Texas roots (from his mom who still lives in the area) he comes back from time to time. Meeting him, and hearing the passion behind the work he does and the wine he makes will inspire you, and I know you’ll taste some great wine.