Monday, December 23, 2013

Scott Harvey Winery Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel

When people ask me the name of my website, and I answer "Now And Zin," they either think I said "Zen" or expect that all I write about is Zinfandel.  There's hardly a lick of Buddhism here and, while I do make the occasional pass at Zinfandel, it is most certainly not the be-all or the end-all of my interest in wine.

As luck would have it, a shipment came to me from Scott Harvey Winery in St. Helena, CA.  They do Zinfandel there, and they do it very well.

The Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel 2010 is billed as America's oldest Zinfandel.  95% of the grapes come from the Harvey Vineyard in Amador County, planted in 1869.  The other five percent are Petite Sirah grapes from the David Fulton Vineyard in Napa Valley.  The Harvey Vineyard survived both phylloxera and Prohibition to last to its ripe old age of 144 years.

The wine has an alcohol content of 14.5% abv, which is pretty reasonable for a warm climate wine from California.  It spent 29 months aging in French oak.

This wine is colored a light, medium ruby in the glass, a little more like Pinot Noir than Zinfandel.  Aromas of brambly raspberry-tinged blackberry are laced with purple floral notes and a minty herbal quality.  Quite expressive.  On the palate it's as smooth as can be, but the tannins are strong enough to handle whatever it is paired with them.  A brambly essence also rides herd over flavors of blackberry, black cherry and a hint of black currant.  Despite the brambly quality - it always makes me think "rustic" - this wine is extremely elegant.  The 1869 Zin is quite dry, and it goes very well with cheese tortellini under a marinara sauce.

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