Blending the Mastro Scheidt Mastrogiacomo Craft Red Wine Growler has been a top priority in early 2015. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm blending The Jug for 2015.
This is a good opportunity to explain a little bit more about The Mastrogiacomo Jug. Let's address the name on The Jug. Mastrogiacomo, shortened to Mastro at Ellis Island, is my mother’s maiden name. My Italian ancestors immigrated to Fresno, California from Southern Italy in the early 1900s.
Nearly every one of my Italian relatives made wine in their basement and nearly every one of them bottled their wine (if they bottled it at all) in a jug. Fast forward about 100 years to what I'm doing at Mastro Scheidt Cellars; where I've taken the jug very seriously and crafted a high-quality red wine blend from Sonoma County and turned it into a cult favorite with both first-time buyers and regular enthusiasts of my more traditional offerings.
Since its infancy, my red wine Jug was blended with 100% Sonoma County fruit. I've always used fruit that I've purchased and fermented to create my master blend, no corner cutting. My Jug is NOT 'the leftovers' from each year. Far from it.
Every barrel is selected by me, with the same attention to detail as our single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. I use high quality French, American, and Hungarian oak to age my jug wine. The Jug is by design a non-vintage blend. I could declare a vintage, but this gives me the freedom as the winemaker to blend more well-rounded (read: more barrel time) wine from my cellar.
And then I blend. And blend again. And again. Then test and test again. Until the final product is easy to enjoy and readily drinkable. The Jug is not meant for aging or time in bottle, it's meant to drink. I rack off gross lees, allowing the wine to settle, as our method of fining and filtering the wine, rather than use a filtration system. We then bottle without adding additional sulphites.
The goal is for a great glass of wine that I personally produced from Sonoma County that is affordable and appeals to the casual drinker and connoisseur; hopefully around a table of friends and food. It has always been my ideal to tell you exactly what's in my blends and what my process is. The 'mystery' of what I do is the daily, weekly, and monthly planning (what barrels to bottle when), tasting (and spitting a lot) and testing (the less glamorous stuff) of each vintage and non-vintage bottling.