What We Say 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel
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Mission Codename: The Prohibition Proposition
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Procure a stellar Old Vine Zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Scott Harvey Wines
Wine Subject: 2005 Zinfandel Amador County Old Vine Reserve
Winemaker: Scott Harvey
Nestled in California’s once gold-rich Sierra Foothills, the Amador County AVA (American Viticultural Area) has been called California’s last great undiscovered wine growing region. With vineyards that date back to the 19th Century, this region is home to some of the oldest vines in the state. Today, Amador County produces some of the most deeply concentrated and intense Zinfandels in the state. Today’s wine is the best example of a perfectly balanced Amador Zin that we could get our spy paws on. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet and purple with good concentration all the way to its glistening garnet edges. Slow but long slender legs creep down the side of the glass when swirled
Smell – Profound in fruit concentration with aromas of fresh ripe blackberry and raspberry. Immediately underneath the fruit is a dusky earthen quality with fresh anise and soft spice undertones. This wine is really aromatic on opening, but give it some time to open up and breathe and you will be rewarded with additional lushness
Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine has firm but fine sweet tannins and bright acidity layered against a nice minerality that coats and enhances the mouth feel
Taste – Concentrated, tart and tangy black fruit of ripe blackberry, raspberry, plum and softest cherry. Add to these, soft hints of with hints of oak, anise and mild black pepper. The pepper component is really held in check and does not overpower
Finish – This wine finishes long with lingering flavors that are dominated by its fruit and backed up by its spice and herbaceousness
Conclusion – What a very lovely wine this is! Old vine Zinfandel is the epitome of California’s wine heritage and this wine strongly lives up to that standard. While I have had little experience with wines from Amador County, I am now a believer in the hype and intel that has been flooding in
I recently took my son, mini-agent Agent Juice Box, up to the Sierra Foothills. The idea was to spend some quality Spy-son time together, hiking the varied terrain, enjoying the outdoors, and even trying out hands at some gold panning.
We had a wonderful time and the fresh air and time away did wonders for our spirits. While up there, I had vowed to unplug from the world of wine, and focus, instead, of having a great non-wine time. I believed that such a thing was possible and I did pretty good. For the most part.
You see, while trekking through Amador County, we kept passing vineyard after vineyard. Of course, I knew of this region as a superior wine growing region for rich, extracted reds like Zinfandel and Cab, but I had never given the region its due investigation.
Every time my eyes locked on a vineyard or a winery sign, Agent Juice Box would rein me back in. “Uh uh, Dad. We’re on vacation, remember?” This phrase was repeated more than once, and I did manage to heed this wise young agents advice. I did, however make a few small mental notes of vineyards and wineries to investigate later.
The vacation over, the both of us spent but relaxed, we reflected on the journey. “Good times, Dad. Have you conducted any Amador wine research yet?”
That was all the ‘permission’ I needed. Together we recalled what we had seen and we jumped into the Wine Spies W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) databases to put together a few mission plans.
My first mission was to Scott Harvey Wines, where I discovered today’s incredible Zinfandel – and some really amazingly great people. Scott, a veteran winemaker and his wife Jana, who ‘runs the joint’, are warm, deeply experienced and wonderful folks.
Scott, a former partner of Folie a Deux Winery, is widely recognized as one of Amador County’s most experienced modern winemakers. Today he makes elegant wines, where others from the region can tend to be overly concentrated, from wines that predate prohibition.
Today’s is not just a great Amador County Zinfandel, it is a great Zinfandel!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyard where this wine was born can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Scott Harvey Wines
Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold Medal – Best of Class – Amador County Fair
94 Points – Exceptional – Beverage Testing Institute (Feb 2008)
88 Points – Wine Enthusiast – “Tastes like some shriveled berries made it into the blend, which isn’t a bad thing. They give a note of baked fruit to the currant, mocha, anise and date flavors. This versatile Zin is notable for its silky, elegant structure”
About This Wine:
Super spicy entry, generous mouth feel, blueberries, sweet integrated vanilla, cherry berry Zinfandel, chocolate, blackberries, briary, full flavored Zinfandel components. Old Vine complexity and first growth quality.
Vineyard Notes: A blend of the DeMille Vineyard and Bowman Vineyards. George DeMille, the legendary Marine Raider who hit four beachheads in the South Pacific, survived to tend his ancient gnarled vineyard with special care. George’s grandson, our winemaker, is proud to follow in the family tradition by bringing you this exceptional Zinfandel.
Production Notes: 2005 ripened late letting the grapes hang on the vine late into the fall. This allowed for full flavor maturity with out extreme alcohol levels. Both the DeMille and Bowman vineyards produce small bunches of high extraction fruit. The DeMille Vineyard was planted in the days when horses were still used for cultivation. These vineyards are non-irrigated, stand alone head pruned vines that express the Amador Zinfandel terroir.
Winemaker Notes: Produced in the old world style of balanced wine making. We want the wine to express the Amador Zinfandel terrior with a good balance of fruit, French Oak, structural tannins and medium alcohol.
About The Winery:
Scott Harvey Wines are made of the best varietals from the terroir of Amador County, California. These worldly wines include an Old Vine Zinfandel, a Syrah (Rhone), a Barbera (Italian) and a Port (Portuguese). Scott’s roots are in Amador County which has allowed him to develop considerable expertise with these varietals.
Growing up in California’s Sierra Mountains Region, Scott developed a keen interest in winemaking as a high school exchange student in the Rhineland Pfalz region of Germany. Scott attended California State University at Sacramento before beginning practical Enology training at Montevina Winery in Amador County. Back to Germany in 1975, he apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt. Once again returning to Montevina Winery, Scott focused on all aspects of winemaking and running a winery. From farming the grapes to effectively marketing the wine, Scott solidified his knowledge and experience. In 1978, at the age of twenty-three, Scott took over as Head Winemaker for Story Winery, also in Amador County.
In 1979 Scott developed an ambitious winery plan for the Santino family. As Winemaker and General Manager of Santino Winery, Scott is credited with placing Amador County firmly on the California wine map. Crafting the best wines possible from the soils and climatic conditions of the region, Santino and later Renwood benefited from Scott’s German training and innovative style. Becoming one of the leading wineries in Amador County, and garnering critical acclaim, the wine world was paying attention. Amador County was now recognized as a world-class wine-growing appellation.
In 1996, Scott was recruited as Partner, Winemaker & President for newly purchased, Folie a Deux Winery in Napa Valley. Combining forces with Lead Partner, renowned Winemaker, Richard Peterson, Ph.D, a formidable winemaking team was launched. Scott pursued his commitment to award-winning Cabernets made from the Estate Vineyards in Napa Valley while continuing his passion for Amador County Zinfandel. Access to Scott’s original Grandpère vineyard in Amador County and close relationships with premier Amador County growers, resulted in award-winning wines all around for Folie a Deux. In addition, Scott’s creation, the “Menage a Trois” line of wines, was an instant commercial success. In 2004, Folie a Deux, now a respected brand, was sold to Sutter Home/Trinchero Winery. Scott was finally positioned and ready to start his own venture, and he had the ideal partner – his wife, Jana, a wine industry veteran.
Scott Harvey Wines, the initial line of wines in the “Creative Wine Concepts” portfolio, was created out of market demand for Scott’s wines – “niche wines that over deliver.” The Scott Harvey line focuses on Scott’s roots – Zinfandel, Syrah and Barbera from the Sierra’s. Approachable, food friendly and full of luscious fruit, these wines have struck a cord in the marketplace. Scott has hit his stride with his new mantra – “Scott Harvey Wines, it’s time!” Stay tuned – this is just the beginning!
Wine Type: Bold Red Wine
Varietal: Old Vine Zinfandel
Appellation: Amador County
Harvest Date: October 2004
Aging: 19 months in French Oak
Residual Sugar: Dry <.2%
Food Pairing: Bar BQ – especially ribs. Spicy foods.
Production: 1297 cases produced
Other Notes: 100% Shenandoah Valley, Amador County Zinfandel