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MacPhail Pratt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
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.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.