Scott Harvey Wines
2006 J & S Reserve Syrah
California: Amador County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from one of our favorite family wineries is an exceptional Syrah and fully worthy of special recognition.
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Mission Codename: Reserve Judgement
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exceptional Syrah that shows classic old world style with new world flair.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Scott Harvey Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 J & S Reserve Syrah
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 best Syrahs and Zinfandels in the state. Today’s wine is the best example of a great Amador Syrah.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark ruby-red with a dark clear core. Along the edges the color transitions gracefully from ruby to pink. Slow legs inch there way down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Fragrant aromas of ripe red and black fruit including raspberry and blackberry. Hints of toasted oak and vanilla caramel are balanced with a touch of spice and pepper.
Feel – Round and rich, smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine balances its bold fruit with exceptional elegance in its texture. Its firm, finely grained tannins and a touch of bright acid frames the exceptional fruit of this wine.
Taste – Classic dark fruit Syrah flavors of blackberry, bilberry and raspberry with a touch of spicy pepper and cigar box. Toasted oak, earthy notes and a touch of vanilla caramel emerge as this wine begins to open up.
Finish – Clean with lingering flavors of fruit, spice, earth and toasted oak invite sip (gulp) after gulp of this delicious wine.
Conclusion – Like the other Scott Harvey Wines we’ve tasted in the past, the 2006 J & S Reserve Syrah shows exceptional balance and finesse between its new-world rich fruit and winemaking that brings out the old-world style of this much loved varietal. Soft and rich aromas and flavors, and while this wine is definitely fruit-forward its not so much so that the subtle earth, oak and spice are dominated. Our tasting panel enjoyed this delicious wine with a variety of Spanish inspired tapas including crispy fried lentils, warm goat cheese with red cherry and red pepper, spicy chorizo y queso, as well as seafood Paella. And it paired well with it all!
What follows is a recap of Agent Red’s original encounter with today’s winery:
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 Syrah, 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 Syrah, it is a great Syrah!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyards in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Aromas of blackberry, cedar, blueberry and sweet light oak introduce fresh, bright, spicy flavors of the same laced with firm tannin and carry through the long finish.
Winemaker’s Notes: Produced in a rich, dark fruit forward style. Aged in French oak cooperage to develop a well rounded wine with firmly structured tannins.
Vineyard/Vintage Notes: 87% grown in the mountainous Chapman Syrah Vineyard of Shenandoah Valley, Amador County. This vineyard is a steep rocky decomposed granite west facing slope. The 7% is from Ryan Vineyard located in the center of the Shenandoah Valley. The balance (6%) are Port varieties added for mouth watering complexity. Extremely low yields from these highly stressed mountain vineyards produce first growth quality fruit. The harvest of 2006 produced a smaller than average crop. Grapes came in with small bunches and berry size allowing for a more extractive vintage.
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!
Suggested Food Pairing:
Beef Curry (Food & Wine – Quick from Scratch)
2006 Scott Harvey Amador Syrah will provide enough flavor to stand up to this curry and contribute a black-pepper spiciness, too.
3 T cooking oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 ½ t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
¼ t dried red-pepper flakes
1/8 t turmeric
½ t salt
2 T water
1 ½ pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1” cubes
3 T chopped cilantro
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 min. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, red-pepper flakes, turmeric, salt, and water. Add the paste to the onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the meat to the pan and cook, stirring for 3 min.
Raise the heat to moderately high and cook to your taste, stirring, about 2 minutes longer for medium rare. Stir in the cilantro.
Blend: 100% Syrah, 100% Shenandoah Valley, Amador County, 94% 2006 & 6% 2007
RS: Dry @<.5%
Cases Produced: 321 cases
Cooperage: 22 months in French Oak
Release Date: 5-1-09