Birthday Surprises! Mastro Scheidt: Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon

IMG_0379What’s a birthday without a surprise?

In this case, on a Birthday ski trip to Mammoth where we stayed nearby at Lake Crowley, there were several terrible ones: I fell just before we drove off and couldn’t do stairs well or ski, my son fell the day before and had stitches in his elbow so if he skiied at all it had to be below his level, and my husband was sick and spent most of the trip in bed asleep.

But some surprises can be great.

Because of the aforementioned circumstances as well as others, it seemed best for us NOT to fix dinner in the lovely kitchen of the gorgeous home we were staying in but to go out.

Instead of going into Mammoth, it made more sense to stay closer to home, in this case, McGee Creek Lodge where on Saturday nights the East Side Bakery serves dinner and hosts a bluegrass jam in the large main room.IMG_0376

Of course before we decided to go there, I had to check out the menu AND the wine. The menu was simple enough that they could just tell me and for the wine they flipped over the chalkboards that had the breakfast menu.  A guest chef from Sonoma County would be cooking meatballs, marinara, alfredo sauce, quiche; it would work for our party which included two 11 year olds.

The corkage was $15 and as the most expensive wine was $30, it didn’t make sense for me to bring in wine, but to just buy a bottle there.

That night, while we were ordering in the cafe/bar, I discovered that the guest chef was also winemaker for Mastro Scheidt. So after a quick taste, I switched from the Cote d’Rhone I was going to order to purchase a Mastro Scheidt sauvignon blanc with 15% semillon and his cabernet sauvignon with 15% cabernet franc.

Both the red and the white won me over immediately–and pleased the adults in my birthday party as well as a local who also was going for the C d’R until I convinced her otherwise.

I went for both red ($30) and wh10915301_10153014674984106_723004969122342259_nite ($30) not just because I loved them both, but because some of our party was going the breakfast at dinner route and others going the meatball route, and most of us were having the very colorful green salad with the lively vinagrette. So definitely a need for a red and a white wine for a table with 5 adults and so much better to have the correct wine than to just “make do.” Besides, it was my birthday and as Charles paid for dinner for us all, I could spring for the wine!

The sauv blanc was made for the salad which was full of colorful greens and grated carrots. But then again, I think the winemaker made the salad and the vinegreatte so that makes sense!

The sauv blanc is more stone fruit than citrus, with beautiful floral notes from the semilon. It complemented the salad and contrasted nicely with the alfredo sauce, refreshing my palate.

For a 2012, the Cabernet is surprisingly accessible but not shallow: it has richness, suppleness, balance, and depth, plus plenty of cherry fruit.  If this wine was a gal, she would immediately become a close friend, and get along with everybody. Nice body, and a lovely color, but not overwhelming; the sort of wine that contributes to a conversation and a meal without being too loud.

It is a rare day that you can find a red wine with this much going on at a restaurant for $30! Not surprisingly, it retails via the winery for $25. That’s a steal, and a $5 mark up for a wine at a restaurant is practically unheard of. even an $8 mark up as in the case of hte white is unusual.

Mastro is Italian for tradition, says David Scheidt on his blog on his Mastro Scheidt website, and it also stands for Mastrogiacomos, shortened to Mastro at Ellis Island. The name Scheidt is from his dad’s side, Prussians from the Volga River valley.

David’s family instilled in him a passion for tradition as well as for the culinary arts and wine. He studied both cooking and wine making, and traveled to Italy with his brother and cousin to learn more about both. According to his website, in 2009, her returned to Italy “to refine his skills as a cook and to learn more about traditional winemaking. He explored the subtleties and simplicity of Italian cooking in the kitchens of Tuscany, Puglia, Liguira and Emilia Romagna. He had the opportunity to work the Italian harvest at a small family farm in Ugento, Puglia, where Antonio of Masseria Gianferrante let him get his hand dirty.”

“There was no chemistry lab, no oak barrels, no pad,” David recalls from his time in Italy. “There were no written instructions, no protocols, only tradition. This traditional technique was something I never had growing up — the tradition that was passed down from generation to generation.”

However, it wasn’t until David Scheidt had a successful career in finance following his BA in finance from CSU Fresno that he could then turn to his original passion: wine and food.

Thank goodness for us! I will definitely keep his wines on my radar and next time I’m in the Mammoth area on a Saturday night, we will check to see if he’s cooking and if he brought wine. And next time, I’m going to get  a WINE GROWLER full! (Yes, they offer $40 wine growlers!  The Jug blend

is mostly Sangiovese, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec at times in the blend of this mostly Dry Creek and Alexander Valley grapes.) Wonder if they will ever offer growler refills?

Photos of the 2014 harvest courtesy of David Scheidt; see more of his lovely images in the galleries on his website.

NOTE: I am having mega problems with my internet tonight so I will come back to this post to add more photos and links. It sure takes the love out of blogging I’ll tell you to have the tech end of it not flow.

Wow! This is blog post #444!






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