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MacPhail Raye's Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from North Coast, California
  • WE94
14.3% ABV
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This stunning red-head smells and tastes of the Pommard clone right off the bat. Her aroma is rich in strawberries and raspberries. There is a creaminess about her that suggests a ripe, complex dark cherry and earthy notes. On the palate she is round and focued and hints at cream soda with a hidden acidity. Great structure – gaining depth and weight on the lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
A sweet, soft, harmonious Pinot Noir. Feels so gentle in the mouth, it hardly has any weight, yet it’s a very serious wine. The flavors are enormous, suggesting ripe wild cherries, raspberry liqueur and baking spices, finished with perfectly applied, smoky oak, and brightened with fine acidity. A wine of great charm, it should continue to develop in the bottle for six years.
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MacPhail

MacPhail

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MacPhail, North Coast, California
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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.


North Coast

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Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.

Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.

YNG147729_2009 Item# 115513