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NorCal Wine Blog

Profile of McCay Cellars: Video Interview with Michael McCay, Photos, More

McCay Cellars is a small, family-owned winery in Lodi. They make boutique quantities of high-quality wines. The winery is best known for old vine Zinfandel, but they produce a variety of wines using their estate Petite Sirah and grapes sourced from other top vineyards in the area.

The McCay Cellars Zinfandels have a different profile than most from Lodi. Proprietor/winemaker Michael McCay brings an old world sensibility to his wines. They are dry, aged only in French oak and as notable for their texture as for their complexity.

I recently spent a day at the winery and vineyards with Michael McCay. That day he and his team were bottling five wines. McCay Cellars Contention Zinfandel, a new high-end production, was among them. It’s a single-vineyard Zinfandel from a very unique, old-vine site. Michael McCay provides more detail on that vineyard and his wines overall in the video below.



McCay Cellars will release the 2010 Contention Zinfandel in about six months.

McCay Cellars makes much of their Zinfandel from old-vine grapes. This vine is nearly 100 years old. It's trunk is thick as a man's thigh.

McCay Cellars red wines are aged only in French oak. Some get a high-percentage of new oak, others more neutral. Some of the wines are put into hogsheads or puncheons. These over-sized barrels impart less oak flavor on the wines because the ratio of oak surface area to wine volume is lower than with a standard barrel.

After aging in French oak, McCay Cellars red wines, such as this 2009 Truluck's Zinfandel, are transferred to a stainless steel tank for bottling.

McCay Cellars is also releasing a rosé this year. It looks fizzy here because of the bottling process. It is a still wine.



Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photos and video by Fred Swan. All rights reserved.


Rich Reader
#1 Rich Reader 2012-03-12 20:29
Did Michael say that the Contention has "a beautiful ass on the backside to pair with food"? That's the first time I've heard Zinfandel described with such an anatomical anthropomorphis m, unless Mr. McCay was thinking of a different species.
Rich Reader
#2 Rich Reader 2012-03-12 20:36
I apologize, realizing now that he was speaking about the Paisley 2009, not the Contention.
Fred Swan
#3 Fred Swan 2012-03-12 22:32
Hey Rich, it does sound that way but I think it's actually "beautiful acid."
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