Banged Up

Jug wine with pedigree
Bedrock Wine Co.

Maligned as it may be today, jug wine once played a vital role in California's winemaking history.

It introduced an American audience to what had previously been an exclusively European luxury. Still, historical significance aside, it can't be denied that most of the juice produced in the old days was commercial plonk. Luckily, we now have better options than our forebears.

The new Sherman and Hooker's Shebang! is an affectionate nod to California's past. Created by Morgan Twain-Peterson, the founder of Sonoma's Bedrock Wine Co. and son of Ravenswood winery's legendary Joel Peterson, the one-liter jug wine ($16) is a brilliant reinterpretation for the discerning contemporary palate--and wallet. The label takes its name from the Civil War generals who founded the California winery's namesake Bedrock Vineyard in 1854.

The new release is an easy-drinking, nonvintage blend of Syrah, Petite Syrah and Zinfandel taken from Twain-Peterson's own holdings and selected bulk lots grown by wine-industry friends. Plush-red in the glass with exuberant berry fruit and a kick of peppery spice, the Shebang represents just one aspect of Bedrock Wine Co.'s larger mission to revisit Sonoma's viticultural roots: Notably, several of Bedrock's high-end bottles feature special heirloom blends sourced from some of the oldest vineyards in the state.

Consider this Shebang your history lesson in a glass.

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