MacPhail Gap's Crown Chardonnay 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
What defines MacPhail? Our little red wagon says it all. Family. Fun. Serious when we need to be (but not too much).
From the beginning, which isn’t all that long ago, we’ve believed that wine is art with a splash of science. Our first vintage was 2002, so you haven’t had a long time to get to know us. But we’re easy. We use traditional, old-world winemaking techniques with minimal intervention to deliver wines that are flavorful enough to tell you a lot about our exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. We forge strong partnerships with growers willing to join us in this ongoing adventure. Restless and curious, always searching to answer a simple question: what is Pinot Noir? Crafted by nature, nurtured by our hands.
The little red wagon that graces our label symbolizes timeless design and exceptional quality. We like the idea that kids play in wagons, and share simple joys. No reason we can’t as well. So we try not to take ourselves too seriously, even as we’re very serious about our wines.
Tim and Sabrina Persson take the long view as stewards of MacPhail Wines. After all, they are the fifth generation of the Hess family to watch over the family’s wineries. As Tim likes to say, take a peek in the wine rack at home and you’ll have no doubt how often MacPhail is a part of the family’s wine selections. It’s not uncommon to see Tim and Sabrina, along with the next generation – children Jasper and Yasmine – at the MacPhail Tasting Lounge @The Barlow. Be sure to say hello.
Matt Courtney has a simple goal as winemaker for MacPhail: capture the individuality of each vineyard site and let it express itself in your glass. His focus is the vineyard, and he has worked with many MacPhail growers for years. Celebrated for wines created for Arista, Marcassin and his own label, Ferren, he is as well known for his wizardry with Chardonnay as he is with Pinot Noir. Happily, MacPhail has room for both.
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.
Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.