Mission Codename Vision-ary
Drumroll… one of the most exciting Pinot deals we have landed lately is HERE: Vision Cellars baby! The only non-Caymus wines made AT Caymus featuring PRIME fruit from Las Alturas, a Belle Glos exclusive vineyard, along with the legendary Garys’ and Rosella’s. For under $30? Come again???
Deep ruby, nearly opaque to the core with the mildest garnet glow against the glass. Big, bold ripe plums mingle with sweet and sour cherries, cinnamon bark and a touch of forest floor. Fairly structured for a delicate variety, with a dusty tannic grip and a juicy medley of fresh-picked wild berries. Grows even more voluminous on the glowing finish with milk chocolate and caramel nuances. As Mac puts it best, meat on the bone, think lamb chops, or a duck leg confit with hefty sides to boost.
Our favorite story with Mac - one of the most interviewed and photographed wine personalities in California - is how he got intimate with the late Caymus founder Charlie Wagner over 30 years ago, just hanging out with this friendly, humble man for months, never questioning who he actually was. Until one day a crew member says; “that ain’t just some old guy, that’s Mr. Wagner, he own this place!”
A San Francisco Chronicle article raves; “McDonald plays in the same league as other top American Pinot Noir producers… Not only does he draw praise from sommeliers and grapegrowers - especially his own - but his Pinots have frequently been given high scores and awards… After traveling the world over to sample the best bottlings from the grape, McDonald is now best known for the nuanced Pinot Noir he creates… Despite generally excellent reviews that have elevated his business, McDonald still practices what he preaches by living a very modest, down-to-earth lifestyle.”
A recent Wine Enthusiast feature on him confirms that; “American winemakers who embody the spirit and work ethic of the classic vigneron do exist. Edward Lee “Mac” McDonald is one of them. He grew up on Texas moonshine - his dad made it - but a taste of Burgundy at age 12 made wine his dream. When he was in his 50s, McDonald bottled his first Vision Cellars Pinot Noir, under an African-mask label that he designed. Purchasing his own Sonoma County vineyard, which he named Ms. Lil’s Vineyard for his wife, was a natural step for someone with his precision, high standards and country sensibility. His wines are elegant and bright, though McDonald prefers wearing overalls and a straw hat, spending as much time tending his vines as he can.”
His production is so small, yet his passion so big that Mac does not need the press to sell out.
Make sure you watch these superb video interviews with him AFTER you secure some!
What the Winery Says
2014 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
- Mac McDonald
- 100% Pinot Noir
- Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County
- Garys’, Rosella’s, Las Alturas
- 1,200-1,400 feet above sea level
- Gravelly sandy loam
- Total acidity
- 6.9 g/L
- Brix at harvest
- Mid-October 2014
- 9 months
- 80% neutral, 20% 1-3-year-old French oak
- 6 barrels made