Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 14, 2020

2014 Turley Wine Cellars, Zinfandel, Kirschenmann Vineyard, Lodi.
Larry Turley’s iconic Turley Wine Cellars has maintained exceptional quality in a pioneering style for more than three decades with some amazing and awe inspiring wines made from mainly historic California old vine vineyard sites, like this sublimely crafted Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel in Lodi. Turley, along with Ridge Vineyards, Bedrock Wine Co., Carlisle, Martinelli and Biale are keepers of the faith in the modern Zinfandel, highlighting individual vineyard sites and making wines with bold full bodied character, with many of these from vines that were planted in the late 1800s. These producers, especially Turley, are making Zinfandels that are mouth filling, lush and dense with impressive palate impact, giving loads of hedonistic pleasure in their youth, but are serious wine that can age easily 10 to 15 years and in some cases much, much longer, as I believe this 2014 Turley Kirschenmann has the potential to go quite a long way with its depth and structure, it maybe my absolute favorite ever Lodi wine, just surpassing some tasty Cinsault from the Bechthold Vineyard, which also, like Kirschenmann, is in the Mokelumne River zone. The Kirschenmann, as Turley notes, is particularly close to their heart as head winemaker, Tegan Passalacqua, owns and farms this renowned vineyard. The un-grafted old vines here at Kirschenmann were originally planted in 1915 and are set on the silica-rich sandy soils of the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA. Passalacqua takes full advantage of he river’s cool waters and the delta breezes that keeps this arid and warm terroir in balance, allowing these head-trained, dry-farmed vines some protection from the Summer heat.

This 2014, which looks like to very similar in style to the 2018 and 2019 vintages with a cooler demeanor and freshness, though richly layered and complex from a longer growing season that delivered some spectacular grapes to Turley, like those from Passalacqua’s Kirschenmann Vineyard that have produced this gorgeously textured Zin. It’s very notable that Turley Wine Cellars makes forty-seven wines from over fifty vineyards, and as they add, the vast majority of which are single vineyard designate Zinfandel(s) and Petite Syrah(s) coming from all organic sites, most of which are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. Also, Passalacqua uses 100% natural or indigenous yeast fermentation to make the distinctive Turley wines. Tegan has lots of experience and is one of the most informed and likable personalities in California wine, after working harvests with the legendary figures like Alain Graillot in the northern Rhône Valley as well as Eben Sadie in Swartland, South Africa, along with a stint working along side Doug Wisor at Craggy Range in New Zealand, plus his time here at Turley under Ehren Jordan, their former winemaker. The 2014 Turley Kirschenmann Zinfandel excels in the glass with a lovely dark garnet/purple color and luxurious mouth feel, it unfolds with black raspberry, plum, morello cherry and Mission fig fruits leading the way along with delicate floral and snappy herb notes, adding an array of spices and a touch of cedary wood. This Kirschenmann is wonderfully rounded, polished and pure with a surprising degree of crisp detailing for a bigger wine that clocks in at around 15% alcohol, in fact this is a remarkably elegant Zinfandel, I highly recommend searching out this vintage as well as grabbing the just released 2018s.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive