Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 23, 2021

2017 Turley Wine Cellars, Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi, California.
This is one of my favorite wines in Turley’s incredible portfolio of old vine offerings, it is always gloriously drinkable and fresh, but with serious concentration and complexity, a bit less fruit dense and more zesty than the Zins and or the Petite Sirah that require either a well planned meal and or some cellaring, this is more often than not easy to pop cork on. I drank a few of my 2018s before this vintage, which seems to have been a good choice as the 2017 is really in a great spot and hasn’t lost any energy or intensity, while maybe softer just the right amount with a beautiful array of dusty red berry and plum fruits along with light earthy notes, a combination of dried herbs and spices, as well as a subtle cedary wood frame, florals, candied orange rind and lingering kirsch. The dark ruby hued, medium/full bodied Bechthold Cinsault has a welcoming lift and brightness while still being opulent and its supple tannins are ripe and smooth, making for a real pleasing red to be enjoyed with roast chicken, pasta dishes and simple cuisine options, I myself found it wonderful with left over pizza. I have really enjoyed my latest experiences with the Turley wines and their winemaker Tegan Passalacqua’s own label Sandlands, these are some of the most interesting and authentic California wines out there, all from important vineyard sites that are usually historic and or ancient vine offerings. To preserve vibrancy and show purity, this Turley Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault was done in a semi carbonic and natural yeast fermentation, then was aged exclusively in 100% used French oak.

As has been noted, and as I have mentioned in prior reviews, the Turley Bechthold Cinsault comes from one of the Lodi region,’s oldest vineyards with Bechthold being planted in 1886, making this Cinsault vineyard maybe the oldest of its kind in the world, as Tegan Passalacqua suggests. The vines at Bechthold are gnarly, head-trained and planted on their own roots in the deep, sandy soils and are Lodi’s oldest continuously farmed vineyard site, one of California’s most unique and cherished sites. Cinsault, one of the Chateauneuf du Pape grapes, found in the Rhone, Provence and in the Languedoc regions of France mainly has found a happy home here in California, especially in warmer climate areas of California, as it retains natural acidity and holds up in the relentless heat, as witnessed here in Lodi. Cinsault has become the secret sauce in many blended wines and adds life and vitality in the classic Rosé wines of Bandol, on its own it can even provide a lighter and more Gamay like style, like it does here, and can be enjoyed with a slight chill too. Turley has quite a few alternative offerings, beyond their famous Zinfandels and I have tried my best to get as many as possible, including their Grenache and their white Rhone blend, but this Cinsault is fast becoming one of my favorites. Turley, led by Larry and his daughter Christina, along with Tablas Creek, Bedrock, Ridge and a few others, have in their own ways done amazing work to elevate California wines, either by introducing quality new cuttings and varietals, as Tablas has done, to preserving and celebrating California’s most historic vineyards, usually dry farmed, head trained and organic, as Turley and Bedrock have done, throughout the state, all of which we owe a great thanks for.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive