Dennis McCarter, founder and winemaker of McCarter Cellars, joins Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country.
To begin, Dennis talks about how he got started in wine, which happened when he joined his first wine club where they made some wine. He was born and raised in Santa Rosa and started making wine at home with five gallons of Barbera in his garage. Then he studied on his own and kept on making wine. Some of it was good enough to win some nice awards so he decided it was the time to go pro. 2022 is his inaugural vintage. They are working on getting a tasting room up and running.
Dennis reminds us that there is a 15% discount at McCarter Cellars dot com, using the Promo Code “KRUSH” on the website, for the rest of this month. (That promo code is close to the name of Wine Country Radio’s sister station KRSH, but with an extra U.)
Before starting McCarter Cellars, Dennis worked in the insurance business but after the fires he wanted a change. He took some classes at Santa Rosa Junior College, worked in wineries and kept making wine. He went from being an intern at Vinify to a full-time cellar worker. Dan Berger later suggests that Dennis has shown us an ideal pathway to becoming a great winemaker and these wines show why that is.
Tasting Diversity, February 25
Dennis describes an event he is organizing with the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation. They raise money to build and rebuild libraries, “…like the one in Roseland.” On February 25 they are doing an event called Tasting Diversity, a celebration of black leaders in the wine industry. There will be five guests and Jay Jackson will be the moderator. (He is an actor on Parks and Recreation.) They want to show that anybody from any background can have access to the wine business. The event is February 25, and starts at 3:00 to 5:00 pm, at Fog Crest Vineyard, 7606 Occidental Road in Sebastopol. For more information and the complete roster of guest speakers, visit the Events page on the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation website.
McCarter Cellars Tastings
They taste a 2021 Chardonnay first, called Tritone Cuvée, made by Greg La Follette. This is a blend of three lots, done with light oak. Steve describes it as “a little tart.” It wouldn’t go with rich food, but some kind of white fish or clams would work. Next they will taste the Sauvignon Blanc, then the Rosé. The Sauvignon Blanc comes from Rogers Vineyard in Dry Creek, in the cooler part of the AVA.
The 2022 Pinot Noir has all the aromatics of the varietal. Dan notices raspberry, strawberry, a bit of blackberry. It is light and feathery, of the Burgundy style, that you don’t often see in darker California Pinot Noirs. Dennis describes how he did it. It is 25% whole cluster. When there are stems, it can take away some color, and bring some other aromatics, like green peppercorns. Dan says, “this is succulent and delicious.” The acidity is strong enough so chances are good that it will age well.
Photo credits: Dennis McCarter, from https://www.mccartercellars.com/about. Bottles lineup by Vicario Productions.