The second bottle that I removed from the carton from my wine club “A Taste of Monterey” was Scheid Vineyards Reserve Claret 2012. I have heard and read plenty of accolades for Scheid Vineyards and I actually have four different wines, including a Reserve Claret 2011, that I have actually allowed them to continue aging and mellowing out in our cellar. All of the wines I have are through our wine club, so eventually I guess I will start having to enjoy them, but it is fun to save certain wines and I have always heard that was the real purpose of having a cellar, not a showpiece, because trust me, ours is not, but to allow wines to continue aging. Since I have not really tasted any of the wines yet, I realized that I had not really talked that much about the winery.
The story of Al Scheid is interesting. He first purchased property in Monterey County in early 1972, and the area was in its infancy for wine, and it was originally known as Monterey Farming Corporation and was a limited partnership that was originally conceived to take advantage of the tax shelter laws. For the first fifteen years he sold his grapes to other concerns for their winemaking. As he slowly brought in his family the farm became an estate vineyard and winery and he also bought more in the Salinas Valley to expand the winemaking. In the Monterey estate he bought out his partners and even bought another vineyard of Pinot Noir. They built a state-of-the-art crusher for the bulk jobs and created a small winery in Monterey for their craft production.
I enjoy the fact that they refer to their wine as a Claret and thus avoid the term “Meritage” though I often wonder which word works better in the marketing world. This Reserve Claret is fifty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, twenty-three percent Petit Verdot, twenty-two percent Malbec and five percent Cabernet Franc. Each varietal is handpicked and destemmed as they mature to ripening and then each varietal spends two weeks in an open top fermenter. Each varietal is then aged for thirty-four months in a mix of sixty-three percent American Oak and the balance in French Oak. The final selection of the wines is then blended and bottled unfiltered and laid to rest for an additional twenty-six months. There were three-hundred-fifteen cases produced of this wine with a suggested aging potential of an additional ten to fifteen years. Their tasting notes evoke black fruits, tobacco, dark chocolate and bacon smoke and balanced tannins for a long-layered finish. I am so intrigued that I may have to have the right dinner and company and do a two-year vertical of the wines.