Yesterday we explored the Zinfandels of Four Vines Winery, who I like to describe as the rock stars of wine. Today we’re changing the station to something classical. For years Turley Winery has been making some of the most iconic, refined examples of Zinfandel produced in the world. Receiving continuous critical acclaim and commanding prices that correspond, to drink a Turley wine is to taste Zinfandel at its finest.
The winery also produces a small selection of other varietals including Petite Sirah and a seemingly out of place (but very well done) white Rhone blend. I spent nearly two hours at the winery, tasting through the various offerings in their line. Each one was so elegant and complex that they required an extra level of time and attention to truly appreciate. This article will certainly not be the last time we talk about Turley on the site, but for today, we have three very special Zinfandels to cover.
Old Vine Zin is Turley’s passion and area of expertise. There is no set in stone definition that identifies how old a vine must be before it can officially be labeled as such, but there is no question that the plantings sourcing today’s wines are truly ancient. Each one of these wines is a small production gem, literally decades in the making.
Wine #1: Turley 2008 California Old Vines Zinfandel
The aroma is softly prune-like, with a pleasant pipe tobacco edge. There are some sweet vanilla cream tones, a touch of freshly cut rose wood, some raspberry and a hint of herbs de Provence.
This is a softly profiled wine, with a delicately jammy quality. It’s bright with red fruit tones, cherry, and tart raspberry. Rose petals and a mixed floral bouquet mingle with vanilla and a subtly bitter, toasted hue. This wine strikes an exceptional balance between a dark, gripping core and bright lively acidity. This is an impressive effort and easily…
Worth Trying. 91 points.
Wine #2: Turley 2007 Paso Robles Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel
Deep woody tones make up the majority of the aroma. Blackberry, black tea, and a touch of pepper also seem to show through pretty strongly, with blueberry and plum jam, rose bush, and caraway emerging with a spin in the glass.
Nicely rich and full bodied, this wine is instantly shows fresh blackberry and spiced, raspberry sauce flavors. There is a toast and tar component combined with a hint of leather moving into the mid palate. The tannins are firm and gripping, but have a certain waxy quality about them that is reminiscent of eating a dark chocolate bar. Rose wood and sap appear on the finish and seem to never cease. This wine is beautifully bright, while still maintaining a substantial amount of depth. I could see it evolving significantly over the next three to five years. Very well done and absolutely…
Worth Trying. 92 points.
Wine #3: Turley 2006 Paso Robles Ueberroth Vineyard Zinfandel
The nose on this wine is deep and spicy, with an intense herbal tone. It’s very pastoral and full of tobacco and cherry notes. Black stone, chocolate, and gun smoke open up on the spin.
Beginning with dried fruit and peppered, grilled meat, this wine quickly moves into a dense and spicy combination of dark fruit and firm minerals. This is clearly a wine that would benefit from at least 8 to 10 years of bottle aging. It’s extremely intense, tight and earthy, and it shows spectacular acidity and structure. Its palate is explosive and the finish seems to never end. This is clearly a masterpiece, and its only going to get better over the years. A wine to hold on to and a wine…
Worth Buying. 93 points.
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The Grapevine: Have you ever had an aged Zinfandel? What were your thoughts?