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PICK of the RACK:  Scott Harvey | Syrah | Mountain Selection | Amador County | California | 2008 | $22 | 92 pts

Aromas:  fresh cherries; vanilla bean; cinnamon
Character:  full-bodied & robust; fruit-forward; medium tannins and acids; silky texture; integrated oak
Flavors:  cherries & boysenberries; dark chocolate-covered dried fruit; sweet cured tobacco
Food Pairing:  barbeque spare ribs; grilled sausage; roasted pork

Scott Harvey is a pioneer of modern winemaking in California’s Sierra Foothills region, the state’s historic gold rush country located east of Sacramento on the opposite side of the Central (Sacramento) Valley.  Scott grew up in the area, and throughout his accomplished career in winemaking has played a prominent role in bringing the region – Amador County, in particular – to the forefront of California viticulture.  A while back we visited Scott’s quaint tasting room in the gold rush town of Sutter Creek and more recently featured his 2008 “1869″ Zinfandel, a delightful rendition of the variety from 140 year-old head-pruned vines.  Scott’s 2008 Mountain Selection Syrah is just as delicious but appreciably more rambunctious – with bright aromas of fresh cherries, vanilla bean, and cinnamon that transition to effusive flavors of cherries and boysenberries, dark chocolate-covered dried fruit, and a pinch of sweet cured tobacco.