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Friday, 24 May 2013 13:52

May 24, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week


IS Old Vine Zin NV lg Picmonkey

 2011 “Old Vine” Zinfandel


 Ironstone Vineyards

 Appellation: Lodi

 Alcohol: 14.5%

 Suggested Retail: $10


“This Ironstone wine exhibits the traditional Zinfandel personality and has a hint of the pepper that's lost in too many current big Zins. It's full, but strikes a winemaking balance between that leaner old style and the voluptuous treatment. There's a trace of residual sugar, but it stops short of the sweet, syrupy and high alcohol profile favored by some wineries whose Zinfandels tend to be blowzy caricatures of the varietal.

“This is a very appealing Zinfandel and, at $10, a great bargain. So much of what we consider the taste of wine is actually determined by the aromas that precede each sip and this wine has a wonderful nose. Take a whiff—there's lots of blueberry and blackberry qualities, with subtler aspects of ground pepper and licorice. The first sip reprises these characteristics, maybe concentrating on the blackberry component."

Food Affinity: Good choice with barbecued ribs or burgers. Also appropriate with pastas, especially those prepared with red sauces. 


ScottandJanaHarveyatSutterCreekTastingRoom PicmonkeyScott and Jana at tasting room on Sutter Creek's Main Street.

How did Winemaker Scott Harvey help transform an historical Gold Rush town known as the “Jewel of the Mother Lode” to a charming wine center?

Six years ago, Scott and his wife Jana envisioned a tasting venue where people could both dine and book lodging within walking distance of the tasting room. Sutter Creek, the most picturesque town in Gold Country, would be the ideal showcase for Amador County wine and provide just the place for responsible wine tasting—where people enjoy a flight of wine and stroll to dinner and back to the hotel. Scott and Jana took the leap in early 2007, joining just one other tasting room in town—Sutter Creek Wine Tasting.

Later in the year, Pat Crosby, former City Councilman of Sutter Creek, a registered California Landmark, approached winemaker Scott Harvey with a proposition. “Can you help develop Sutter Creek into a wine lover’s destination?” Scott approached the city with a tasting room prospectus at Pat’s behest.

Scott had already built his reputation as a winemaker, creating Amador Wines for Santino Winery, which he later developed into Renwood, and had a strong affiliation with Amador County wines. “What better place for people to appreciate the Barbera, Zinfandel, and Syrah that make the mountain region of Amador County so unique than right near the vineyards of the Shenandoah Valley?”

Scott Harvey was instrumental in contacting other wineries to open a satellite in the town Sunset Magazine calls “The Jewel of the Sierra.” By 2013, additional wineries on Main St. include Cinque, Bella Grace, Andis, Yorba with Baiocchi and Sutter Ridge opening this summer . The group of tasting rooms is now known as Wine on Main.

Today, the Scott Harvey Wines Tasting Room is ranked the #1 attraction in Sutter Creek by Trip Advisor, lauded by reviewers for the friendly and knowledgeable tasting room staff, and wide variety of celebrated wines, from Amador County Zinfandel to Napa Valley Cabernet, to a favorite among visitors, Scott Harvey’s port-style wine, Forte.

Scott and Jana have now enhanced their Sutter Creek Tasting room experience. A newly expanded and welcoming back patio that opened June 1st features comfortable tables and chairs. Flowers and greenery have been freshly planted by Scott’s daughter, Michelle, giving tasters a delightful respite for their personalized tasting experience, or to enjoy a glass of one of Scott Harvey’s award-winning selection of over 15 wines.

“We believe we have the best tasting room visitors in California,” said Tasting Room Manager Muffin Simpson. “We love making the tasting room experience fun and enjoy introducing guests to varietals they might not have tasted before, such as Scott’s J&S Reserve Barbera, winner of Gold at the California State Fair, and dessert wines such as our Riesling-based Ice-style Wine, Angel Eis.”

About Scott Harvey Wines:

Established in 2004, Scott Harvey Wines features Amador County Barberas, Zinfandels and Syrahs, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, along with a variety of one-of-a-kind white and red wine blends. Creator of “niche wines that over deliver,” Scott Harvey, owner and winemaker, has been making wines for over 30 years. The company has tasting rooms in both St. Helena and Sutter Creek.

Editor's note: Visitors to California's Gold Country can find links to many Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to all of the Sierra Foothill wineries in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


from TASTE News Service

Scott Harvey in front of Vineyard Picmonkey"balance is critical . . . " --Scott HarveyLower alcohol wine represents Napa Valley winemaker Scott Harvey’s commitment to making wine that is drinkable, enjoyable, and enhances good food. At last, new tastes in wine are catching up to Scott Harvey’s training.

The winemaker is not alone in his views about the superiority of lower alcohol wines. According to Richard Halstead, CEO of global market research Wine Intelligence, “Alcoholic strength of wine is an issue that consumers take seriously across the world." According to Drinks International, "there has been widespread criticism of 15.5% alcohol blockbusters and requests for winemakers to aim lower."

Trained in Germany in the Old World style, Scott believes that balance is critical to good wine making results. In a recent interview with Dan Berger, writer for the Sonoma County, California – based newspaper and online site, Press Democrat, the writer explored the winemaker’s perspective on the place of alcohol level in wine making. “Balance is the key to all great wines, said Scott Harvey. “I prefer to make my Napa Valley Cabernets come in at 13.5%.” Many Napa Valley cult wines come in with labels from 14.5% to 15.5% “although from the way they taste, they could well be at least 1.5% higher.” said Scott.

“I pick wine grapes when the grapes still taste like Cabernet grapes or Zinfandel grapes—rather than like raisins. Most winemakers are afraid to pick this early, but I listen to the grapes.” Scott picks Cabernet grapes at the moment when they are red fruits, not black fruits, turning into raisins. It’s what Scott calls “The Perfect Moment” in his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br9H29iYsC8

A lower alcohol wine can be an award-winning wine. For example, Jana Cathedral Napa Valley 2006 ($65) has an alcohol level of 13.5%. This limited production Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the winner of a double Gold Medal at the America Fine Wine Competition. “I made this wine in the European style with low pH and low alcohol, so it pairs very well with an elegant and rich meal,” Scott explained. “I named it for Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, where I proposed marriage to Jana.”

Another Scott Harvey award-winner, with a 13.5% alcohol level, is Scott Harvey 2009 J&S Reserve Barbera, which was singled out at the California State Fair with a Gold Medal - 94 Points. “The rich full flavors express both the varietal and the terroir of Amador County,” explains Scott. “This Barbera is a blend of the Spinetta Vineyard and Vineyard 1869 of the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County, California.”

Lower alcohol and more balanced results have been more achievable with the more recent cool vintage releases of 2010 and 2011. “It’s the lower temperature vintages that produce less sugar, and with less sugar comes lower alcohol," said Scott.

Scott Harvey Signs Bottle PicmonkeySigning a medal winnerOn the white side, Scott is known for his European Style Riesling, which previously has had alcohol levels as low as 9.5%. Scott will have a new release of his Mendocino Riesling in June. He is also a celebrated wine blender, originally known as the creator behind the popular Ménage à Trois. Most recently, Scott brings his blending skills to his latest award-winning white wine blend, Primero Beso (First Kiss.)

The World Wine Championships, run by Beverage Testing Institute, has just awarded 91 points (rated Exceptional) to Scott’s Primero Beso 2011 White Blend, ($18), with a 12.5% alcohol by volume. The judges rated the blend for its “pale golden yellow color. Aromas of dark fig-date bread and honey with a soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tangy apple, peach, starfruit and lemon tart accented finish. Very refreshing and lively as a sipper or to pair with spicy Mexican foods.” 4/13/13

About Scott Harvey WinesHandcrafted wines from Napa Valley and Amador County, Scott Harvey Wines produces wines under three labels: Scott Harvey Wines, Jana Winery and InZinerator. Established in 2004, Scott Harvey Wines features Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel, Napa Valley Cathedral Cabernet Sauvignon, Amador County Barberas, Zinfandels and Syrahs along with a variety of one-of-a-kind white and red wine blends. Creator of “niche wines that over deliver,” Scott Harvey, owner and winemaker, has been making quality wines for over 30 years.

Editor's note: Planning a visit to the Napa Valley? You'll find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options there, as well as links to all of Napa's wineries at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

Region: Gold Country     City: Grass Valley     Contact: http://www.historicgrassvalley.com/

vic3 Nev City Picmonkey

It's been called "a Christmas card come to life."

On three Sundays and two Wednesdays in December, Nevada City celebrate its 39th Victorian Christmas. Carriage rides, twinkly Christmas lights, authentic gas lamps and carolers in period costumes take this picturesque foothill town  back to another time.

Vendors roast chestnuts outdoors and plenty of food and drink available for visitors.

Region: Gold Country     City: Nevada City   

Contact: www.nevadacitychamber.com

Region: Gold Country     City: Placerville     Contact: www.eldoradowines.org

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:24

March 10-12, 2017 Sonora Celtic Faire

Region: Gold Country     City: Sonora     Contact: www.sonoracelticfaire.com

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:07

March 4-5, 2017 Behind the Cellar Door

Region: Gold Country     City: Plymouth     Contact: https://amadorwine.com 


The El Dorado Winery Association and its 35 wineries in the Sierra foothills has unveiled a new-look website to accommodate the region’s continually growing popularity and to match the area’s unique energy and acclaimed wines.

Madrona vineyardmountains PicmonkeyMadroña is at 3000 feet elevation

This latest step comes only a few weeks after the state Department of Food and Agriculture awarded the region a $179,000 Specialty Crop Block Grant to help build a complete marketing effort focused on making all of California and Northern Nevada, and particularly areas like Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Reno and Carson City, more aware of what’s happening in this unique Sierra foothill region.

“The grant is California’s recognition that what we’re doing with our wine and our wineries is something the rest of the state should know about,” said Beth Jones EDWA President and co-owner of Lava Cap Winery. “We’re seeing wine lovers respond to what we do, and we’ve been working hard to get the word out. Our new website is another step in that direction.”

The group of family-owned, award-winning wineries has been revamping its look and communications efforts for the past year. That includes the new marketing campaign “Taste At A Higher Level,” which details the region’s increasing popularity among wine drinkers and critics, and tells the story of the high altitude vineyards ranging from 1,200 to 3,000 feet, and of a place where wine has been grown and made since the Gold Rush.

“It’s exciting to see people discover our foothills and our wine,” said Terrie Prod’hon, EDWA’s Public Relations and Marketing Committee Chair and owner of Mount Aukum Winery. “Our new site will help more people see why El Dorado wine country is such a special place.”

About El Dorado Winery Association

El Dorado’s wineries offer visitors a wide diversity of award winning wines, friendly tasting room staffs, and spectacular views of hillside vineyards, snow-capped mountains and oak-studded foothills. El Dorado County is in Gold Country about an hour from Sacramento or South Lake Tahoe and a little over two hours from Reno or the San Francisco area. For more information, visit www.eldoradowines.org.


Editor's note: Visiting wineries in Northern California? The Resource Directory of Taste California Travel has links to hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, all organized in an easy-to-use format. Also in the Resource Directory are links to the websites of all the state's wineries, as well as over 600 beer-centric restaurants and pubs.


Saturday, 10 November 2012 16:55

Beer Gold Country

Nevada County

Nevada City

Cooper's Ale Works


Jernigan's Tap House


Matteo's Public


Mine Shaft, The


New Moon Cafe


Ol’ Republic Brewery



Placer County



Auburn Alehouse


BJ's Restaurant and Brewery


Club Car, The


Power Club Restaurant & Brewery



El Dorado County



Jack Russell Brewing Companywww.jackrussellbrewing.com



Brick Oven Pub


Gold Hill Brewery


Hangtown Brewery


Independent, The


Placerville Brewing Company


Powell's Steamer Co.


Wine Smith, The




Pub at Fairplay, The



El Dorado Hills

36 Handles





Tuolumne County

City of Sonora

The Standard Pour


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