Scott Harvey Winery in St. Helena, California makes plenty of wine bearing Harvey's name. Jana Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 bears his wife's name. It's Harvey's expression of his love, emblazoned on thousands of bottles of really great Zinfandel. It;s a liquid love letter.
"I create this Zinfandel from 80+ year old vines grown in the upper Napa Valley," says Harvey. The crop was small, but the fruit reached full maturity before harvest. There is a scale on the label showing a spectrum stretching from "new world style" to "old world style." The needle points to old world, in case you need some help figuring that one out.
Fact is, the fruit-forward wine comes on like a new world offering, revealing its old world roots after giving us some time to think about it.
The grapes for the 2011 Jana Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel come from the D'Anneo Vineyard in Calistoga. Half of the vines are 88 years old, the other half are only teenagers, 13 years old. The wine aged for 18 months in French oak, carries 14.5% alcohol and sells for $34.
It's medium-dark ruby colored with a slight brick tint, looking just a little older than its years. The nose is lively, showing black cherry, vanilla, allspice and licorice. The palate is full of dark fruit and spice, with a nice tannic structure as an added attraction. A touch of roasted beef and burnt almonds come through late and add a rustic flair to an elegant wine.
As for "old world," it reminds me a little of primitivo, but it has even more similarity to Napa Cab.