J. McClelland Cellars
Napa Valley AVA
A winemaking legacy spanning five generations expresses the world-renowned terrior of Napa Valley.
This month’s Gold Wine Club selections come from the JMC Luxury Portfolio, a premium collection of three winery brands including The Lost Chapters, 50 Harvests, and J. McClelland Cellars, each brand fulfilling a unique vision, and all produced from select vineyards in Napa Valley. The entity, which began as just J. McClelland Cellars in 2008, was established by the well-known Scotto family and named in honor of owner Anthony Scotto’s long-time friend, mentor, and iconic California wine industry personality John McClelland. Over the years, the single brand evolved to include The Lost Chapters and 50 Harvests, completing what is now the JMC Luxury Portfolio.
The Scotto Family’s incredible five-generation winemaking legacy began back in 1883 when Salvatore Dominic Scotto, an officer in the Italian Navy, began making wine at his home on the island of Ischia, just off the coast of Italy. He made wine for his family, friends, and neighbors, and passed the winemaking tradition on to his son Dominic, who in 1903, migrated to Brooklyn, New York. There, he followed the family tradition by sharing winemaking skills with his sons and selling five gallon crocks from the family’s horse-drawn wagon. In 1946, they opened D. Scotto Wines, a retail store in downtown Brooklyn that sold quality wines from around the world.
The tradition continued as Anthony Sr. (Dominic’s son) created Villa Armando with his brother Sal, which is still in production today and stands as one of the country’s oldest family’s winery business as well, but he also became an exporter and consultant, and passed his skills and experience on to the fifth generation, which is at the helm today. Anthony III, Paul Scotto, Natalie Scotto-Woods, and Michael Scotto are continuing their family’s legacy with a collection of complimentary wine companies, including the JMC Luxury Portfolio in Napa Valley and Scotto Cellars in Amador County.
The Scotto Family is also joined by consulting winemaker Mitch Cosentino, who helped expand the original J. McClelland Cellars brand over the years. In 2013, the Scottos produced a wine honoring their family’s 50th harvest in California, commemorating when their grandfather brought his family to California, just in time for the 1963 harvest. The 50 Harvests brand celebrates this milestone and currently offers a red and white Bordeaux-style blend, crafted in the Old World style.
In 2017, The Lost Chapters brand was born, representing the culmination of fifth generation winemaker Paul Scotto’s dream. Each year, Paul crafts dozens of brands, varietals, and blends, and in his relentless search for just the right barrel lots to fit the profile of each bottling, he occasionally finds something special that deserves its own place. These special ‘Lost Chapters’ are offerings that most likely will not be repeated in future vintages. Each release is unique with its own allure and charm.
Only the finest Napa Valley vineyards are chosen for these boutique wine programs, supporting the Scotto family’s vision and dedication to producing the best wines possible. We hope you enjoy a taste of The Lost Chapters and 50 Harvests. Cheers!
Paul Scotto, Mitch Cosentino & Mark Smith, Winemakers
Led by Paul Scotto, the winemaking team behind The Lost Chapters and 50 Harvests is literally what dreams are made of.
Scotto is a fifth-generation winemaker with a viticulture and management degree from UC Davis, the country’s leading wine educator and home to many of our country’s leading winemakers.
In addition to crafting wines for the family’s various winery projects in Lodi, Amador, and Napa Valley, Scotto also runs his own Sera Fina Winery in Amador County. His efforts have produced numerous award-winning wines for all of the Scotto family winery endeavors since their inception. Scotto is joined by consulting winemaker Mitch Cosentino and assistant winemaker Mark Smith. Cosentino is widely recognized in the international winemaking community for his blending skills, deep connection with the vineyard and amazing palate memory. He artfully combines these great skills in each of the wines he crafts. Smith has been with the Scotto family since 2014, bringing experience from Groth Vineyards & Winery. Working alongside Paul Scotto and Mitch Cosentino has furthered his skills and nurtured his goal of producing wines of elegance, grace, balance and a true sense of place.
1. Pumpovers vs. Punch Downs: What’s the difference?
During the winemaking process, when grapes are left in a fermentation tank, all of the solids (grape skins, seeds, stems and pulp) rise to the surface and create a mass called a “cap.” Winemakers want to integrate these solids back into the wine to extract the desirable color, flavor, and tannin from these particles, and to do so, they must either ‘Pumpover’ or ‘Punch Down’ the cap.
With Pumpovers, wine is pumped from the bottom of the tank to the top, and over the cap. Pumpovers can extract higher amounts of tannin in wine depending on the frequency and force, and the resulting wines tend to be more intense.
Punch Downs, on the other hand, are a very delicate way of stirring a wine and are almost always done by hand - by manually pushing the cap back under the surface of the wine. On average, Pumpovers/Punch Downs are done about three times per day during fermentation.
2. What is extended maceration and how does it affect the finished wine?
Maceration is the process during red wine fermentation when the grape skins and solids (seeds, stems, pulp, etc.) are soaked in the wine must to extract color, aroma and flavor compounds, as well as tannins (in the production of white wines, maceration is either avoided or allowed only in a very limited manner).
Extended maceration is when the solids are left in contact with the juice/wine for a longer period of time with the goal of increasing color, flavor and tannin structure in the wine. There are two times this can happen: during cold soaking on unfermented grape juice, or after the grapes have been fermented into wine. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, and some winemakers choose to do both. It comes down to preference and the art of achieving balance of flavor and texture in the finished wine.
3. Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary wine aromas: What’s the difference?
Primary aromas are those distinct smells that are derived from the fruit itself. These aromas may present themselves as fruity or floral in nature. It is these aromas that allow us to differentiate between different wines in their youth.
Violets, rose, chamomile, green apple, lemon-lime citrus, black and red berries would all fall under the primary aroma category. Secondary wine aromas are influenced by the fermentation process and are especially due to the winemaker’s choices. The most common influence in secondary aromas is oak. Example secondary aromas include nutty, buttery, vanilla, cedar and other wood-like notes. Tertiary wine aromas come into play if the wine has undergone an aging process.
The longer and more extensive the aging, the more a wine’s aromatics will be influenced. Example tertiary aromas are oxidative character traits like coffee, caramel, toffee, and cocoa, or reductive notes like earthy nuances, wet forest floor, mushrooms or vegetable-like components.
Mitch Cosentino - Winemaker
For more than forty years, Mitch Cosentino has been considered one of California’s iconic winemakers.
His Cosentino Winery in Yountville set the standard for varietal content and is a must stop for anyone visiting the Valley who is serious about wine. Cosentino serves as consulting winemaker to the Scotto Family’s interests and has been honored with the André Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year award and a number of his wines have been selected as “Best Wine” and “Best Cabernet” through the years.
He is also the founder of the Meritage Association (now the Meritage Alliance), that unified efforts to establish parameters for Bordeaux-varietal blends in the United States.
Anthony Scotto III - Co-Owner
Few California winery owners or winemakers can boast of being the fifth generation of their family to toil in the wine business, but Anthony Scotto III is a bona-fide member of such a prestigious group.
Scotto, 40, is the great-great-grandson of Salvatore Scotto, who began making wine on the small Island of Ischia, just off Italy’s western coast near Naples. Salvatore’s son Dominic emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1903 and continued the family’s wine tradition. His son, Anthony Sr., began selling his father’s homemade wine from the family’s horse-drawn wagon. At one point, they created Villa Armando, a product that is still in production today after eight decades.
The Scotto Family moved to California in 1963 and settled in the Central Valley growing area around Lodi. Anthony Jr. entered the wine business in 1975 as both a winemaker and consultant. His son, Anthony III, is the current CEO of Scotto Cellars, the parent company that owns both of this month’s featured wineries. He is joined by his brother Paul, the founder of Sera Fina Cellars, a top winery in Amador County, and other members of his immediate family.
“We are basically a Lodi Family,” Anthony Scotto III commented recently, “We have made a living producing jug wine for quite a long time. The wine business has been really good to all of us.”
Scotto related that some 15 years ago, he was given the rights to Villa Armando Rustico, his family’s long-term flagship wine entity. “Once I got into it, I realized the fan base for the product was dying off and I had to explore some different areas in order to survive.”
His attention was drawn to Napa Valley, in his words “the epicenter of the fine wine business.” A location close by Lake Berryessa on Steele Canyon Road in the Vaca Mountains appealed to him and the Scotto Family agreed. In 2012, Steele Canyon Cellars became an integral part of Scotto Cellars.
“We were all excited by the prospect of being able to produce some really fine wines, and my brother Paul in particular. His winery in the Sierra Foothills had done well, but now he was able to compete in the big time of winemaking. He shares my feeling that some wines simply can’t be made outside Napa Valley. Like most winemakers, he has always aspired to produce exceptional wines and his record thus far proves it was an appropriate decision.”
The team that Anthony III has formed could easily serve as a model for aspiring wineries. In addition to Paul Scotto, Winemaker Mark Smith and heralded Consulting Winemaker Mitch Consentino provide an all-star lineup.
“Everyone contributes to the overall effort,” Scotto continued. “If Paul or Mark or Mitch find some useful fruit, we are in a position to act on it immediately. Size doesn’t really matter but quality is an absolute necessity. We have been able to craft a number of exceptional, high scoring wines using this method and everyone is happy with the results.”
Sister Natalie Scotto-Woods serves as the COO and operations director of Steele Canyon Cellars and brother Michael Scotto fills the dual role of production and general manager.
Is there an Anthony IV in the future for the winery? “Not really,” Scotto answered with a laugh. “My wife Alyssa is originally from Nebraska and I lobbied hard for an Anthony IV. In the end, we wound up naming our children Stantino, Nola and Roman. Stantino is nine and he regularly accompanies me as I did with both my father and grandfather. The wine business tends to rub off on anyone who comes into close contact with it as it did me. We are hoping that happens with Stantino, but you can never tell.”
Anthony Scotto III seems a fulfilled man. His two Napa wineries have been widely accepted by both the general public and the wine trade. He has allowed his celebrated winemaking team to do their own thing and make their own choices. He is content with two small wineries that produce a variety of outstanding varietals.
It is our pleasure to bring this small bit of Napa Valley to your attention. Cheers!