Just over the hill in Sonoma, a legendary winemaker has come back onto the scene to grace us with some outstanding winemaking that goes back, decades. Allow me to introduce you to Tom Mackey.

I first met Tom Mackey in 2006 when we started procuring his higher-end red wines for our little retail wine shop.

A third generation San Franciscan, Mackey started off his wine education at Fresno State where, working in a wine shop, he switched his major to enology and his future of viticulture was set in motion.

After a stint in winemaking in the Finger Lakes region, Tom accepted a job with the Saint Francis Winery in the Sonoma Valley where he spent the next 30 years turning his grounds into a state-of-the-art winery rivaled only by the very best in the industry.

Only years into his stint, Tom’s wines and the Saint Francis winery were cranking out some of the best of the best and soon received the title, “Master of Merlot,” from Wine Spectator Magazine.

Not to be outdone, Robert Parker was soon to follow with several world-class scores of his own.

Other accolades include Top Regional Winery 1997 — Wine and Spirits Buying Guide, 1999 Quarterly Review of Wines, 2005 Winemaker of Year — NY Institute of Technology.

Tom Mackey’s newest endeavor, Tom Mackey Cellars, is Tom back into his finest of form and, again, producing wines that will stand up to anything on the market.

At their new winemaking facility in Santa Rosa, Tom hand selects his grapes from small, local vineyards and is very passionate about his craft.

His hands stained in grape and his lower back sore with each harvest, he is producing very small production and unique zinfandel and cabernets with the promise to explore new varietals in the future.

In the Tom Mackey Cabernet Sauvignon, the fruit is sourced from the infamous St Francis Wild Oak Vineyard.

Rich and deep in berry fruit, it has notes of chocolate and cassis. With firm tannins and deep in color, this wine makes for a perfect pairing with holiday roasted beef dishes.

In the Tom Mackey Zinfandel, the grapes are sourced from Mike Lee’s Monticello Vineyard high above the Sonoma Valley. Hillside fruit and head-trained, this fruit is ripe and intense.

In secret, Tom tells me they blend in a little petite sirah for color and depth. Pair this, also, with roasted meats and veggies for the holidays. It will enhance any holiday table.