We had dinner with Mac McDonald of Vision Cellars last night and it was out of this world – if you don’t know his story, it ranks up there as one of the best I’ve heard about “how’d you get in the wine business?”
The son of a Texas moonshiner, he had his first bottle of wine as an early teen that started a lifelong romance. After his retirement, he and his wife Lil started making their wine in the Caymus facility in 1997 (they still do) – a large selection of single vineyard Pinot Noirs that will knock your socks off – just as they have all the big critics and the reason they keep getting poured at the White House through the past 3 administrations (no one ever said that you had to agree on politics to be able to agree on a great bottle of wine)
Chris’ favorite was the pinot Mac made from Gary’s Vineyard – Mac buys certain rows and has them pruned and irrigated the way he’d like so he gets the grapes just the way he wants when it’s time to harvest them. I’m not sure which was my favorite – I’ve always been very partial to the big, bold Oregon pinots – this was really the first time I’d ever tried a CA pinot that I liked – and I liked all of them! If I had to pick one, I’d go with the Las Alturas just for the darker cherry flavor. But all of them delicious and well done – might be fun to pour them all in a blind tasting one night – people would be shocked at how differently he expresses each vineyard that are all within a few miles of one another.
Anyhow, he’s also one of the most down to earth people you’d ever have the pleasure to meet – and you’d have no clue that he was one of the premium pinot vintners over the last decade and a half.