Anyone who knows Zinfandel with passion, knows Turley. Famous for heavily extracted, high-octane wines, Turley has had a cult following for some time, and with good reason. Regardless of whether people fall into the camp which thinks these wines are grossly distorted caricatures of good wines, or the camp that thinks they are the best thing to happen to Zinfandel, everyone should be able to admit that they express a singular vision of winemaking that is forcefully expressed.
I like a lot of different styles of wine, and try not to evaluate one style against another. There are very peppery, earthy Zinfandels that make me happy, and I've also enjoyed some total fruit bombs. What's important to me is that the wine is well made and has balance.
Some of the Turley wines I have tasted in the past have impressed me, others have not, so I was pleased to recently get the chance to try part of the 2002 lineup, which includes some of their more expensive, and some of their less expensive wines.
2002 Old Vines Zin
Ruby in color, nose of chocolate, bing cherry, and earl grey/bergamot. Super extracted, and high octane 16+% alchohol. Score: 9 Cost: approx $45
2002 Duarte vineyard, Contra Costa County
Floral and blueberry notes in the nose with a very smooth and dark body. This wine has a very nice balance between pepper and fruit. Score: 9.5 Cost: approx $50
2002 Dusi Ranch Vineyard, Paso Robles
This wine smells like fresh blackberry pie, and is super juicy in the mouth (more acid than the others?) with round clear fruit. Score: 9 Cost: approx $65
2002 Juvenile Zin
This wine has a huge and berry filled nose, but doesn't deliver on the body -- the wine is a little flat compared to the others (I tasted this one last). Score: 8/8.5 Cost: approx $30
These wines are not yet released, and when they are, they will be hard to find. Wine Commune seems to have some on auction already (closing after the release date).
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune