2018 Turley Wine Cellars, Petite Syrah, Library Vineyard, St. Helena, Napa Valley.
The inky purple/black Turley Library Vineyard 2018 Petite Syrah, from vines at least a hundred years old in the heart of St. Helena on gravelly loamy soils, is a massively appealing example of this grape and place with a intense rich core of black fruits, powerful structure and has a youthful and expressive full bodied palate that takes its time to unfold, but to great effect. This is incredible stuff that will certainly out live me, though still wonderfully enjoyable now, giving it time and air in the glass brings out a hugely delicious and rewarding wine with awesome fruit density, complex savory notes and stunning length. The teeth staining Library Vineyard Petite Syrah starts with blackberry, wild plum, creme de cassis, chocolate covered cherries and has hints of sandalwood, anise, a subtle stony earthy note, pipe tobacco, wild sage and vanilla, it begs for rack of lamb and or a steak to soften its tannin, but stays fresh with a nice touch of natural acidity. Wow, this is killer wine now and for the future when more secondary complexities with shine through, very impressive again from winemaker Tegan Passalacqua. As per normal at Turley, all organic grapes, native yeast fermentation, deep extraction during maceration and then aged 15 months in a combination of mostly 80% French and 20% American oak barrels with just 20% new wood employed to promote transparency, but give textural rich luxurious undertones.
Turley says that the Library Vineyard is one of the most unique vineyards in California, especially in the Napa, which has seen an almost monolithic mono-varietal movement since the 1990s to primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, sadly losing some of the most interesting and historic old school vineyards. Planted between 1880 and 1920, the Library Vineyard sits directly behind the St. Helena Public Library, and the vineyard is very varietally diverse, with many rarities, both red and white all inter-planted here. Turley notes it is mainly old vine (Durif) Petite Syrah, as Larry is want to call this grape, though these vines are mixed with a myriad of others goodies, Turley continues, including, Peloursin (one of the parent grapes of Petite Sirah aka Durif and or Petit Syrah), Cinsault, Syrah (the other parent grape of Petite Sirah), Mission, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Carignan, Grenache and a bit of Zinfandel, of course. There are also a number of white grapes here too, with Turley identifying, such as Muscat Alexandria, Muscadelle, Burger and even some almost forgotten Green Hungarian. Tegan’s team picks all the varietals together to make a wine truly expressive of the this amazing old heritage vineyard. With the price of most top quality Cabernets and or Bordeaux blends here in Napa getting closer to $300 a bottle, it is great to have offerings like this available for well under a hundred dollars, and even better if you are on their mailing list, where the 2021s are getting ready to ship. There’s a lot of fabulous stuff in Turley’s collection, and while most people gravitate to their remarkable Zinfandel offerings, I do love these Petite Syrahs, plus their Cinsault and Grenache, all of which I highly recommend.
($69 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive