Two Long-Lost Sisters, Four Wines: The McBride Family Collection


J. D. Landis

J. D. Landis' thousand+ bottles of wine are kept in a crawl space, in which he often bumps his head.

On the back label of each of their four wines, the McBride sisters—Robin and Andréa—tell the unusual origin story of their lives and of their winemaking.

Each was raised among vineyards, but these vineyards were 7000 miles apart:  Monterey, California, and Marlborough, New Zealand.

The sisters were even further from each other, in that, as they say, they were “unaware of one another for nearly half of our lives.”

Each thought she was an only child.

They shared a father, who, until he was dying, told no one he had two daughters.  And it took five years from then until Andréa, in New Zealand, was located and united with her unknown, long-lost sister.

They discovered not only each other, but also, in each other, a budding passion for wine.

Now, more than 20 years later and after much experience in the wine business, they have created The McBride Sisters Collection.

There are two wines from Central Coast California:

Chardonnay from vineyards in Edna Valley and Santa Barbara, 50 percent barrel-fermented, 50 percent stainless-steel fermented.

Red Blend, an unspecified medley of Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Petite Sirah from vineyards in Paso Robles and Monterey County, aged for 18 months in mostly French oak.

And there are two wines from Marlborough, New Zealand:

Sauvignon Blanc, 75 percent from Home Block, Wairau Bar, 25 percent from Redwood Hills, Awatere Valley.  No wood; six months on light lees after blending.

Brut Rosé, a sparkling wine of 90 percent Pinot Noir, 10 percent Chardonnay.  Some of the Pinot Noir is from Kelly’s Creek Vineyard in Spring Creek, from vines Andréa helped plant when she was a child.

All four wines to no small degree achieve the sisters’ stated goal to make wines that are balanced, structured, and that combine old-world elegance with new world finesse.

From my tasting, I will say that the wines from one country are considerably more accomplished and satisfying than those from the other country.

But I won’t say which.  That is for you to discover for yourselves as the beautifully packaged and seriously rendered McBride Family Collection becomes increasingly available.

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