Son Ryan pulled from his cellar this big red. We both discovered this label at a tasting at Vin Chicago, a Chicago wine merchant who had a store here in suburban Naperville at the time. They featured regular tastings, usually offering at least one premium label offering such as this.
That tasting was my first encounter with McGah Family wines, previously known as McGah Family Cellars and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.
The McGah family has a long history in Northern California dating back over a century when E.W. McGah first settled in the San Francisco bay area.
In the 1960s, McGah co-founded the Oakland Raiders football franchise. E.W.’s stake in the Raiders was passed down to his to his son E.J. “Eddie” McGah in 1983. E.J. was already a notable sports figure in his own right starting with his signing by the Boston Red Sox at age 17. He continued playing baseball while serving in World War II and was one of the top five players nominated for the 14th District Naval MVP in 1945. After released from service in December 1945, he returned to the Red Sox for two more seasons, playing on the 1946 pennant title team.
Sherratt Reicher, E.J.’s grandson, carried on the sports tradition and worked as a defensive assistant and scout for the Raiders until 2002 when he left to form the Hudson Companies, a diversified company whose holding included Scarlett Wines and McGah Family Vineyards.
The McGah family maintained its ownership in the Raiders until 2005. Sherratt continues to oversee the family’s winemaking interests and is involved in all aspects of Scarlett Wines.
They own and operate 64 acres of vineyards in the storied Rutherford appellation on the east side of the central valley near Silverado Trail. They sell fruit to other producers and also offer Scarlett Wines under their own, recently rebranded label named after the producer/founder's daughter.
McGah Family Vineyards "Scarlett" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
This was awarded 95 points by Wine Advocate and 93 points by Wine Spectator.
As I wrote in a previous blogpost back in 2016, this is a monsterous big red with gripping mouth coating tannins, highlighted by bright vibrant sweet sprites.
Dark inky, blackish ruby purple colored, immense, full bodied, rich, chewy, firm, structured, complex core of sweet blackberry was accented by a layer of black raspberry, cassis, hints of mocha, touch of vanilla and sweet spicy oak. Despite its huge gripping tannins it was sensual, smooth and polished on the long long finish.
At the time I gave it RM 94 points.
Today this exhibited black fruits accented by that classic Rutherford Dust, with notes of licorice and cigar box. The fruit was slightly more subdued than that earlier tasting but the profile remains the same.
RM 93 points.