J. McClelland & 50 Harvests: A Taste of Napa from Scotto Cellars

J. McClelland and 50 Harvests wines are the top tier of wines crafted by Scotto Cellars. Both are sourced from Napa Valley vineyards and made at the Scotto’s Napa Valley winery, Steel Canyon Cellars. Winemakers Mark Smith, Mitch Cosentino and Paul Scotto collaborate on these wines, which we received as tasting samples.

The J. McClelland brand pays tribute to John McClelland who has been involved in the California wine industry for many decades. But it is a personal connection to the Scotto family, specifically John’s mentorship of Anthony Scotto III, CEO of Scotto Cellars, that inspired the J. McClelland brand. John continues to advise Anthony today.

The Scotto Family history of winemaking reaches back to 1883 in Italy. In 1903 that history continued in New York and eventually in California. The Scotto name may not be familiar to you and that may be by design. As Bradley Gray, Public & Media Relations Manager for Scotto Cellars, has said to me on several occasions, “They’re the biggest winery you’ve never heard of.”

You may have seen the Scotto Family Cellars wines, but beyond that the many other brands produced by the dynamic Scotto siblings don’t carry their name. They include the wines made in their wineries located in Napa, Lodi and Amador County along with cider and sparkling wine. If you’re looking for a libation to share with friends or family and a meal then Scotto Cellars has you covered.

J McClelland Chardonnay
J. McClelland Chardonnay, Napa Valley
2015 J. McClelland Chardonnay, Napa Valleylight golden in the glass with generous aromas of ripe grapefruit, pears and toast. Flavors include ripe pear, hints of pineapple and lingering spices. A round mouthfeel lends richness and balances the juicy acidity. 14.6% abv. SRP $35

Yes, this Chardonnay does have an oak influence on the flavor profile, but not enough to overtake the fruit flavors. It is always a matter of balance with Chardonnay and oak aging, and your personal preference as to style. This Chardonnay should appeal to a wide variety of Chardonnay lovers and pair nicely with food as well.

J McClelland Merlot
J. McClelland Merlot, Napa Valley
2014 J. McClelland Merlot, Napa Valleylight ruby and translucent at the edge. Aromas of red fruit and dried herbs are generous. The flavors lead with tart cranberries, dried raspberries, dusty earth and cedar. Juicy acidity keeps the flavors light. Ample, drying tannins linger on the finish along with the flavors. The body is medium. 13.7% abv. SRP $35

This is a lively and interesting Merlot. The addition of 14% Cabernet Franc, a variety I’m particularly fond of, works for me. The flavors are bright and tend toward red fruit with brilliant acidity.

J McClelland Cabernet Sauvignon
J. McClelland Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2014 J. McClelland Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valleymedium ruby in the glass with generous aromas of red and dark fruit followed by baking spices. The flavors lead with dried cherries, plums and dusty earth. Hints of celery salt and dried herbs along with cedar spice linger in the background. Drying, gauzy tannins integrate with with the flavors and linger on the finish. The body is medium. 14.1% abv. SRP $45

This is a Cabernet Sauvignon with plenty of structure and flavor but one that is not heavy. It is light on its feet with bright acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 11% Malbec and 4% Merlot, all of which play well together in this wine.

50 Harvests Meritage
50 Harvests Meritage, Napa Valley
2014 50 Harvests Meritage, Napa Valleymedium ruby in the glass with generous aromas of ripe plums, dusty earth and cedar. Plum flavors lead along with raspberries and blackberries and baking spices. Tannins are chewy and grippy in this medium-bodied wine and linger on the finish. 14.0% abv. 181 cases produced. SRP $50

The flavor profile tends more toward dark fruit and spice. The body is a bit heavier and the tannins are substantial. This is a cold weather red wine to enjoy with a hearty, warming meal.

The blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Petit Verdot sourced from the Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley accounts for the deeper, richer flavor profile and grippy tannins.

The 50 Harvests label acknowledges 50 consecutive harvests in California for the Scotto family. The family moved from New York to California in 1963 and have been making wine here since. Anthony, Paul, Natalie and Michael Scotto are the current, and fifth, generation to continue the family’s winemaking legacy. The 2014 vintage is the fourth release of 50 Harvests.


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