MACDONALD VINEYARDS

"There certainly aren’t many opportunities these days for a couple of bright, ambitious young brothers to get their hands on a piece of To Kalon, unless, of course, they just happen to also be hideously wealthy. What Alex and Graeme MacDonald may lack in financial resources, they make up for in birth rights and gumption. That is, they had the good fortune to be the grandchildren of a couple who were coerced into buying a retirement property with far more acreage than they would have liked, which just happened to include a choice section of To Kalon, planted to cherry trees at the time. In 1954, they were begrudged about paying $500 an acre. After grubbing up cherry trees and planting grapes, the fruit was sold exclusively to Robert Mondavi for 60 years. Of course, today the MacDonald family has hit pay dirt.

This wasn’t my first visit to the MacDonalds’ little cottage in the middle of To Kalon, but it was my first visit to review the wines. 2010 was the first commercial vintage for MACDONALD, although production that year was miniscule—less than 100 cases. Today, production is not exactly whopping at around 350 cases, but it is enough so that the brothers can start to break even. Most of the fruit from the 15-acre vineyard comes from vines aged 45-65 years old, including a block of vines planted by Alex and Graeme’s grandfather. Graeme is now also the winemaker at Blankiet—a very different vineyard and style yet another impressive example of what this talented up-and-coming winemaker is capable of." Robert Parker

 

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