This is a really special lot and one I wanted to make sure its gets proper attention here since I know there are so many MacDonald fans. Someone (not me) has donated every bottle of MacDonald released including the ultra rare 2009.
Opening Bid: $2,500
WINNING BID: $2,700
Bidding Increment: $200
Notes: This is one of those lots that, if you know, well, you know. The 2009 was the MacDonald brothers - Alex and Graeme’s - first bottling - maybe 200-300 bottles were produced and it was not even commercially available. There is rarity, and then there is a lot like this. If there is a Napa Winemaker who mirrors Keller’s immense reputation and fame, yet who is personally so humble and down-to-earth, whose project is nothing other than a fanatical obsession with terroir, with growing and nurturing vines, it has to be Graeme MacDonald. I’ve had the pleasure to walk to-Kalon with Graeme; and while I don’t get to drink these wines often as their production is ridiculously limited, well, when I do, it’s always special and humbling. This lot, generously donated by a serious collector of German and California wine (which is a beautiful thing), offers one bottle each of MacDonald’s Cabernet Sauvignon, from 2009 to 2016, an 8-bottle set. Obviously there are no easy reviews to find for the 2009, as it isn’t commercially available, but here are random words written by Antonio Galloni for Vinous: “…so I throw in one mystery wine that is tasted blind. MacDonald’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, from the famed to-Kalon vineyard in Oakville, turns out to be one of the wines of the night.” Regarding the 2011: “The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon has turned out beautifully… Pomegranate, iron, smoke and spice overtones add nuance in a rare Cabernet from MacDonald that will drink well pretty much right out of the gate.” “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is rich, racy and explosive to the core.” “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is off the charts. Intensely aromatic, vibrant and pulsating with energy, the 2013 is absolutely majestic in its beauty.” “MacDonald’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely gorgeous. In this vintage, the Cabernet is especially savory and mineral-driven.” “MacDonald’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is sensational.” “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is shaping up to be another superb wine from brothers Graeme and Alex MacDonald.”
Hi all. I wanted to jump on here because unfortunately this lot is not going to contain the 2009 MacDonald. I donated the lot (and I did so anonymously). I own (or at least thought I owned) all the bottles in the lot. They’ve all been in professional storage since I acquired them (which in the case of the 2009 is either 2014 or 2015 when I acquired it at retail). Stephen thought having a picture of the lot would help the auction and so on Sunday night I requested a picture of the bottles from my storage company. This morning I was alerted that the 2009 is not there. It is in my electronic inventory, but it is not physically there. I’m not going to name the storage company but they’ve been through all my wine boxes and they have an explanation of what they think happened and why the wine is not there. I am not really sure what to make of all this other than to say that I am deeply saddened and very embarrassed. Stephen has revised the lot so that it now references 2010-2016 and of course previous bidders are off the hook for bids that they made.
I really, really love Macdonald Cabernet. The 2009 had been earmarked for a special anniversary (it’s my wedding year). This is not something that I ever intended to sell let alone give away. But I had seen Stephen’s Instagram posts and his desire to help restaurants. I have friends in NYC that have suffered and I wanted to contribute so I reached out to him and asked if I could donate. The Macdonald lot is what I came up with. I was trying to give a thing that I cared about and an amount that I would personally feel and that was meaningful. My wife and I try to give to charity when we can and our theory is that when we give we should make ourselves feel a little uncomfortable and to really try to stretch. That is what I tried to do here. Obviously the 2009 was what made the lot special. I have more than one of all the other bottles. I have a lot of wine, but very few of the bottles have a market value in the range of the 2009 Macdonald. This was a big deal to me. I hope the lot still sells and sells for a good amount, but this has unfortunately turned into something very different than what I had hoped and in fact something that seems bizarre and fairly disconcerting. I didn’t want anyone to be confused about what has happened so I wanted to post here.
Alex, you should name the facility here in the interest of potentially preventing this happening again to anyone else. If I employed this business, I’d want to be able to inventory and likely remove my wine from there to prevent anyone nicking even 1 bottle from my locker.
Honest mistakes happen. I doubt there is a wine storage facility in the world that hasn’t lost it’s fair share of bottles. I don’t know exactly what happened to the bottle and there’s always some chance of a rogue employee in any business but I know the people who work at and run my storage facility and they are good, honest people who wouldn’t steal.