October 17, 2021 - Holy blackberry, Batman! I’ve had the privilege of tasting every MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon since its first commercial release in 2010 and the 2013s, 16s and 18s are absolute showstoppers. This 2013 is voluptuous and feels like your favorite winter scarf. It warmly wraps the tongue with a comforting texture. The powerful yet graceful wine provides the signature tastes of the MacDonald family’s cherished To-Kalon Creek area with violets, graphite, river rocks and ripe black and blue fruit. Serious energy and complexity with decades of excellent tasting experiences ahead. We drank this wine after 8 hours of air and it earned wine-of-the-night praises against an all-star line-up.
October 12, 2021 - Ca. CS (Mu & Mu restaurant, Rehovot): outstanding, rich, complex, hedonistic - still young and requires further aging
August 21, 2021 - Quite tannic even at hour 4-5 of the decant. But really opened up around 6-7 hours. Beautifully perfumed and full bodied.
August 7, 2021 - Huge nose of purple fruit with a hint of green herbal notes. Purple and black fruit with a green herbal note and refined tannins. There is a judicious use of oak and it is already well integrated into the wine. Texturally fantastic, with enough acid to keep it relatively light on the palate despite it being super concentrated. Very well-made. 14.5%abv.
June 26, 2021 - Cellared since release, perfect cork and fill. Double decanted 6 hours before serving, followed over another 4 hours. Dark red/purple to rim. Intense nose of ripe dark fruits with a touch of alcoholic heat. Full bodied, ripe fruit. Not as dense or round or as deep and intense as the 2014 we drank last week, and it lacks the balance of that bottle, showing a touch of alcohol and oak. Perhaps it suffered in comparison to the perfectly balanced 2005 Screaming Eagle served with it. All 6 ranked this behind the Screagle and a pop-n-pour bottle of 2001 Ridge Monte Bello opened nearer the end of the evening. A glass put aside until the end of the evening did show better. I suspect this will be better integrated in 5-10 years. For now it warrants a very good-excellent.
April 22, 2021 - Not notes as it was a big lineup only impressions more around the decanting then the high complexity this wine delivers in spades. 1 of 7 wines tasted with a very good diverse lineup of Cabernet, Grenache, Merlot and represented by Napa, Washington, Italy.
This is a monster! I have never personally decanted a wine this long and was a bit nervous as I have always always preferred for wines to open up in my glass (when time is not an issue) if I am unfamiliar with the vintage, winemaker or wine or (in this case the later) as I feel a tight wine’s structure will benefit (tannins soften) and perhaps the wine opens much more but at the same time you lose some fruit plus other primary components and many times can cause the acidity and tannins to become more pronounced instead of better integrated.
This wine needed it big time. It wasn’t until at least five hours in that it started to budge and shows it’s goods. The ‘18 we had a couple weeks prior I am sure went through a similar transition. We started drinking it at the 9 hour mark and finished the last sip around 12 hours. It has amazing purity with impeccable balance that allows you to effortlessly pick out the individual flavor components as it glides to a very long enjoyable finish. Blackberry, blueberry, dark raspberry with a mineral and clay component that seems to hit a symphony of pleasure. So well done! For me, as good as this is, I will go against the grain and state for my palate the 2018 is the winner by a nose.
December 7, 2019 - MACDONALD vertical 2013-2016 (Bottega Saint Helena): 100 points ALL DAY LONG. You want a To Kalon that can stand the test of time, this dude right here is the one to put your money on. The most gorgeous monster ever, wrapped up in a tight, super grippy blackberry and black raspberry core. So much power and intensity without being edgy or abrasive. A super chewy mid-palate married perfectly with a sophisticated and focused frame. Likely one of the best wines I’ve had in my life…and it’s still evolving. Some chalkiness on the finish somehow lands just right so that it carries the stuffing without being overbearing. It’s such a push-pull delivery that it almost creates its own energy as it wakes up in the glass. This was decanted and placed back in the bottle for approximately 8 hours before consumption. Over the course of dinner, it really kept over-delivering as time went on. It’s a wine that can last decades… And a To Kalon of all things that can last decades. It shames some of the late-picked, over-ripened candy TKs I’ve had (and loved before). Ideally hold and be rewarded, or decant the ever-livin’ crap out of it and feel free to experiment with it now…assuming you have a ton of them to spare (said no one ever). 125 points.
November 22, 2019 - 2013-2016 MacDonald Mini Vertical (Bottega, Yountville): Gave this around 8 hours of air, including a decant, and it still required more. Definitely take Alex's suggestion with a 12+ hour double decant. As this spent time in the glass over the course of about a 4 hour dinner, it kept unfurling and chugging towards perfection like a locomotive. Slightly perfumed nose, with blackberries, licorice, violets and stark mineral driven notes. While the refined tannins are massive and chewy, this wine shows tremendous energy on the palate. It's seriously concentrated, but not at all heavy, with seamless freshness and huge structure. Acid is significant and this certainly is not your typical cult fruit bomb from To Kalon. Instead it is laser focused and precise, with layers for days. It is taut, balanced, profound, super long and utterly impeccable, with the best yet to come in the years ahead. This is one of the few wines I think could literally be a 50 year wine, and still needs at least 5-7 to really be hitting its stride. If you've got these, consider yourself lucky and tuck them away in the cellar for a while.
June 13, 2019 - The 2013 bottle received a 12 hour full decant. This vintage was 227 cases including all three ages of their vines. The nose was immense with blue/black fruit, violets, graphite, again, similar to the last 3 vintages. The palate was almost perfection. Broad, polished, balanced, silky with an energy that just took this over the top. Spectacular! 99 points
May 4, 2019 - Dallas CTers visit NYC offline: So excited to try my first MACDONALD! Decanted for about 10 hours prior to tasting. Nose of black berries. On the palate the fruit profile is dark and there are grippy tannins still in play and a refreshing acidity. Notes of tobacco leaf, cedar and earth are lurking beneath the surface but this will need time to come around and show all of its stuff. Great materials but hold these for 10 years or more - they should age beautifullly.