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).