Steve worked in France for 12 years in the electronics industry, and it was during this time that he developed a love of french cuisine and wine. Steve traveled throughout France, enjoying and learning about the many different wine regions, and it was on a visit to the Northern Rhone region where he fell in love with Syrah.
The electronics industry then brought Steve to the San Francisco Bay Area and he immediately began to explore the local wine regions and wineries. It was on one such exploration that Steve met Michael Talty of Talty winery and so began a great friendship and wine making apprenticeship. After working with Michael for a couple of harvests Steve started his own label MacLaren and made some of his beloved Syrah.
Now residing in Sonoma with his wife Heather, he has left the corporate life behind and is concentrating on growing their small wine company.
MacLaren's primary focus is on Syrah. It starts by searching for premium "cool climate" vineyards capable of producing fruit reminiscent of the Northern Rhone.
The wine making style is heavily influenced by the french wines Steve loves; Fruit forward, balanced, and elegant, making the wines food friendly and easy to pair with different dishes.
MacLaren's goal is to have each wine express its specific vineyard and terroir, but with a french accent. Steve also works every year to find a blend, from all of the vineyards, which represents the best of the vintage. He enlists the help of friends and wine club members in deciding on the final Drouthy Neebors blend. Going forward, MacLaren continues to search for additional Syrah vineyards, but also for vineyards whose terroir and varietal combine to enable a wine to be produced in the same food friendly style. View all MacLaren Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineries
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.