Yes, you are reading that correctly… I am writing about a wine named Shebang! No, this is not Ricky Martin “shebang shebang”, instead this is a funky little non-vintage field blend made by one of the best names in the game, Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company, or as I affectionately refer to him, The Golden Child of California. Why would I call him that? Simple, because every wine he touches turns to gold. I’ve gone on record in my first ever article “California Wine Trends… Old is New” that Morgan’s 2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Stellwagon Zinfandel will forever be one of the most influential bottles I’ve ever tasted, as it is what sparked my passion for old vine California wines.
Morgan is the son of Joel Peterson, of Ravenswood fame, so you could say that great wine is in his DNA. His first vintage was 2007, making tiny quantities of wines out of an old chicken coop smaller than most Manhattan apartments (I’m not kidding). Bedrock Wine Company flew under the radar for a number of years, which made those “in the know” extremely happy, because there was less competition for the wine. Unfortunately (well, not unfortunately for Morgan) that is no longer the case and Bedrock wines are blowing up all over the world. He is pulling in some monster scores from critics like Bob Parker and Antonio Galloni, his Bedrock Heritage Red was #14 on Spectator’s Top 100 of 2013, and his Evangelho Red was included in John Bonne’s Top 100 of 2013… So yeah, he’s no longer under the radar, he’s blipping all over that thing!
Morgan’s passion is old vines… It is his mission to save old vineyards that are neglected or on the verge of being ripped up, and showing the world what unbelievable wines from California are really about. Sometimes I wonder if the guy even takes a paycheck because it seems like he uses the proceeds from each vintage to save a different vineyard.
So what’s any of this have to do with Shebang? Well, Shebang is a fun little project of Morgan’s where he can actually have some larger scale production. His Bedrock wines are amazing, but his case production ranges anywhere from 60-800 depending on the wine, and they sell anywhere from $22-75 per bottle on the shelf. Morgan wanted to create a label that could be more affordable for daily consumption, and steadily available in the market. The best way for him to accomplish this, while still maintaining the level of quality that we’re all used to from his wines, and still utilizing old vines, was to create a non-vintage blend using the juice that didn’t quite make the cut for his Bedrock Wine Co. wines, as well as sourcing from close friends of his. Each cuvee varies in terms of varietals and percentages, mainly because what is left over after each vintage will vary as different varietals or different vineyards put out stunning juice, or just pretty darn good juice. To the best of my knowledge, the current cuvee (his sixth) is predominantly old vine Zinfandel, with a supporting cast of Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah and God only knows what else. I bet if you asked him he wouldn’t even be entirely sure, some of his field blends over the years have had 30+ varietals!
Ok, that’s all fine, but what’s it taste like? Well, first and foremost the wine is medium-to-full bodied with a dark ruby hue. On the palate you’ll find notes of dark cherry, bramble fruit, black pepper, and subtle oak framed by mild acidity and silky soft tannins, leading to a moderate finish. This is a lot of juice in the bottle for the price… In fact Antonio Galloni has even gone on the record saying that “If there is a better value in California wine, I would like to know about. This is a ridiculously delicious wine for $12 a bottle.” Coming from Galloni, that speaks volumes.
As far as food pairings go, you don’t have to go too crazy on this one. Morgan makes this in a relatively straight forward style, and I find that it goes best with simple fair. Burgers, pizza, BBQ… those are all perfect pairings. Or just drink it by itself!
Now, let’s talk scores. Cuvee to cuvee this wine always gets between an 87-90, which are damn good scores for a wine in this price range. Myself, I am leaning towards the top of that spectrum, and I’m giving the Sixth Cuvee a firm 90. In my opinion wines in this price point very rarely warrant anything higher than that, so for me to say 90 I might as well be saying 99. To me, this is one of the top wines coming out of California at an every day price.