Notes from the Cellar
Anthony III | August 2018 | Notes from Inside our Winery
2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Winners!
The Perfect Wine for Your Thanksgiving Feast
Every year we are asked, “Which wine would be the perfect partner for our Thanksgiving meal?” For some, the answer would be “whatever is in the bottle”, but we know many wine lovers are looking for just the right match, so we have four recommendations for this special holiday meal. These wines are complimentary partners for the wide range of flavors and spices found at Thanksgiving and include some of the most popular wine types:
Heavyweight 2013 Pinot Noir – This release has winning credentials including dark fruit, spice and bright cherry flavors wrapped in smooth tannins.
Napa by N.A.P.A. 2014 Bianca’s White – This is a crisp, drier style white wine that stands up to well seasoned turkey and a wide variety of appetizers.
Scotto Family Cellars 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel – This well balanced wine is layered with blackberry, cherry and spice flavors with mild oak accents and soft tannins for a smooth, lingering finish.
Rare Bubbles Brut– This pleasingly crisp sparkling wine is well-balanced with delicate green apple and fruit flavors, a clean finish and long lasting bubbles.
From All of Us at Scotto Cellars
The 2016 Harvest
Our fingers are crossed, but so far it’s been a good year. The fruit quality has been excellent, the balance between acids and sugars has been very good and yields have been within estimates, which is important because our brands are growing. We started a week or two earlier than usual with some vineyards, but until this week there’s been a nice separation between the white and red wine harvests, and that’s given us time for extended fermentations. This week has been pretty hectic, with a multiple vineyards ripening at the same time and we’ll probably crush at least 1,000 tons, making this our busiest week so far. By the end of the week we’ll probably be more than ½ way through. Many of the reds have yet to come in, including the most expensive and valuable fruit.
Winemakers- Paul Scotto, Mitch Cosentino & Mark Smith
2016 Pre-Harvest Rituals
It’s our job to make sure two things are ready for the harvest – the winery and the winemakers. First the winery, where we have to be ahead on our normal maintenance because there won’t be time for routine projects during the crush. Our equipment has been sanitized, checked, moved into position and ready to go so we’ll be prepared when Mother Nature, the vineyard manager and our winemakers decide it’s time for the harvest. This year we purchased a new crusher/de-stemmer and pump-over device, which will give us more control over the process and will help us continue improving our wine quality. Fermentation supplies are on hand, contracts have been signed and grape deliveries will be scheduled as loads become available. We add seasonal help during the harvest period and these workers have been assigned specific roles, but they have to be experienced and able to do almost anything in the cellar. While all of this is happening, our eyes are on the weather; a heat spike like we’ve had this week can accelerate everything.
Second, the winemakers have to be ready. That means we have to be trained on the new equipment and have specific tasks assigned to the entire crew. Crush is physically demanding and we know sleep will be in short supply, so it’s important to be well rested and refreshed when we start. Precautionary measures like a little extra vitamin C always seems like a good idea, too. Our winemaking team has been together now for several years and this experience is a big advantage.
Winemakers- Paul Scotto, Mitch Cosentino & Mark Smith
Tap the Grape!
Tap the Grape!
With new projects comes new equipment, and winemakers LOVE new equipment!
Our most recent addition was keg washer and keg filler, which we needed to keep up with the fast growing demand for wines and ciders on tap. Last year we were filling kegs every other month, but now we are filling them every couple of weeks. Kegs offer some big advantages for both wine drinkers and restaurants – they keep wine fresh and eliminate the need to pour off half empty bottles that have been open too long.
Food for Thought: 1 keg = 26 bottles of wine = 104 glasses (6 oz pours)
Paul Scotto, Winemaker
2016 Napa Valley Harvest Preview
Although we have seen more rain this year in the Napa Valley than during the previous three seasons, it is still too early to predict the continuing influence of the drought on our grapevines, and whether or not yields will continue to drop below normal. Of course, low
yields usually translate to better quality grapes, but most growers and winemakers would like to see the vines move towards a more normal, balanced and predictable growth cycle.
Budbreak throughout the valley was about seven days ahead of last year, which had many growers concerned about frost, but nighttime and early morning temperatures were not severe enough to cause much
damage. With the early bud-break and above average temperatures, we are probably looking at harvest beginning in early to mid-August for white grapes, with reds starting two to four weeks after.
As the vines complete blooming over the next few weeks, we will gain better insight regarding fruit set and potential yields.
We are looking forward to another great year!
New Tasting Room- Coming Soon!
The Scotto Family’s 5th generation vintners are preparing for another Family milestone: their first tasting room! Located on South School Street in the heart of downtown Lodi, SCOTTO’S Wine & Cider will be the newest addition to Lodi’s thriving wine scene. And like many things involving this innovative Lodi based family company, their tasting room will offer something unique – in addition to their award winning wines, they will also be pouring their true craft ciders.
Paul Scotto, Winemaker and Cider Master, handcrafts these selections at the family owned and operated wine company, where he produced the first hard cider made with premium Pinot Grigio wine. You’ll find these wines and ciders available from a state of the art keg dispensing system as well as traditional glass and can packages. The Scotto’s know that wine and cider taste best with food, so a rotating assortment of tasty treats (and surprise events) will be on hand, too.
SCOTTO’s Wine & Cider is a place of inclusion for all that share our love for family, wine and cider! Join us for enjoy a glass or two of the wines you love and the ciders you’ll learn to crave!
2015 Grape Harvest
After perfect harvests in 2012 and 2013, we were all thinking that is was going to be difficult for 2014 to live up to the previous years. All 3 years wrapped up as being some of the best Harvests in CA in both quantity and quality in a very long time.
The big question now is, “What to expect in 2015?”
Despite the quick start to the growing cycle, cooler temperatures in the spring have created a lot more uneven ripening all across CA. Typically fruit set takes place over a 7-10 day window and this year in some areas it has taken 2-3 weeks. The last 3 years we have been able to let the vineyards go through the normal growing cycle without too much vineyard babysitting. This year with the slow fruit set we are getting a lot more uneven ripening in the vineyard. We now will be making a lot more frequent trips out to the vineyard to get grape samples and to become more intimate with the vineyard. We will also have to take samples from more areas of the vineyard than in the past. We will be pulling from multiple areas of the vineyard and also multiple spots on each vine. Even though there has been an increase in attention needed in the vineyard and a smaller crop than the last 3 years, I am super confident the quality is right on par.
Cheers to the 2015 Harvest!
The 2014 Harvest
The 2014 harvest is marching to an end and in terms of the quality, it looks like one of our best ever! We’ve brought in fantastic grapes from Napa, Amador, Lodi and other fine California appellations.
I’m especially thrilled about our Lodi harvest. We continue to partner with Lodi’s most experienced growers; they work closely with our family and winemakers to ensure that their vineyards are cultivated and harvested to meet our quality standards. This fruit makes its way into several brands as determined by the winemaker, brand and wine style, but I’m really excited about the Lodi grapes that will be used for Scotto Family Cellars. This year’s harvest will help us continue to add quality to our wines, like the Scotto Family Cellars Lodi Zinfandel that captured 2014 Gold Medals at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Finger Lakes International Wine Competitions. We have also released the 2012 Scotto Family Cellars Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon. This namesake brand continues to offer some of the best values from California, and now it has a fresh, new package as well.
In summary, the 2014 harvest is another reason that it’s good to be a winemaker, but it’s even better to be a wine consumer! It will be a while before this year’s excellent harvest shows up in your glass but take my word, it will be worth the wait.
Bud Break has Started in Napa Valley
Bud break started in the warmer vineyards in early March, a little earlier than usual after a very dry, mild winter. The vineyards we source have had less than ½ of the normal rainfall during this time; we are not irrigating yet but will have to start considering it if our dry weather continues.
Our 2012 Napa Valley red and white wines are maturing nicely in the barrel and we will start bottling some of them in the next 60 days.
Jason Ball, Winemaker
The 2013 Harvest
Earlier this month it looked like the harvest would begin at least two weeks earlier than normal due to some very warm weather at the start of the growing season. However, we’ve recently experienced some cooler evenings followed by morning fog, so things have slowed down a bit. Overall the weather has been wonderful, with an exception in the Diamond Mountain district where high winds reduced crop levels by as much as one third in some vineyards. We’ll see what happens in the next few days, but at this point we are preparing to begin the harvest within 10 days, starting with our Silverado Trail Chardonnay vineyard. We estimate the yield will be about 4 tons per acre and match the excellent flavor and quality profile of the 2012 crop.
Our red harvest will probably start about 3 weeks later with Merlot from this same vineyard, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. As with Chardonnay, the quantity and quality is expected to match the 2012 vintage.
In most appellations, veraison (the stage of grape development that marks the beginning of ripening when sugars and colors increase, acidity decreases and the grapes soften) is completed or almost finished. Malbec is nearly colored, Cabernet is about 75% and Zinfandel has colored beautifully. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are all softening nicely. Brix levels vary a bit from Napa up to Calistoga in the vineyards we have seen, with most reds around 20 to 22 and the whites at 22 to 24.
Overall, the quality of this harvest looks excellent and we are ready for the 2013 vintage!