2020 Turley Wine Cellar, Zinfandel, Duarte, Contra Costa County.
There’s a lot to love in Turley’s latest set of wines, and these 2020 vintage offerings are some of my favorite Zins of the year and while lots of problems from smoke affected 2020s, Turley’s Zins, which were picked before any taint settled in and the fact that winemaker Tegan Passalacqua didn’t take any chances, were made from the most severe selections ever. This is great news for Turley fans, especially wines like this Duarte, which was crafted from only the best selections of old vine grapes and shows amazing purity, aromatics and a lush texture, but with a fine balance, spice, smooth wood and mineral accents. Loaded with black raspberry, currant and plum fruits, the Duarte Zinfandel, which comes from a collection of Contra Costa’s best vineyards set on the Delhi Blow Sand, deep decomposed granite soils, lingers on the palate with snappy briar, sandalwood and dark kirsch liqueur. This satiny dark purple bottling is moving up on my must have list in the Turley lineup, it is a stellar wine and has Tegan’s signature terroir driven character and classic Turley hedonism on the full bodied palate, this is absolutely delicious and impactful stuff.
The Duarte Zinfandel pays homage to Joe Duarte, who as a prominent grape grower in Contra Costa, was first person to introduce Larry Turley to the incredible vineyards of the Contra Costa. The wine, as Turley notes, is comprised of fruit from the turn-of-the-century vineyards, including Evangelo, Mori, Del Barba and Salvador, several are ungrafted and date back to the 1890s. Thanks to the windswept sandy soils and impressive age of the vines, this bottling delivers some of the softest, silkiest tannins Turley has ever seen in a Zinfandel, while still having structure and age worthiness. These Zin vines, with the oldest coming from an ungrafted 1890 parcel and the youngest being a plot planted in 1960, also include a few Carignane, Granache and Mataro plants interplanted here and are all traditionally head-trained, dry farmed and mostly organically farmed. For this Duarte the winemaking is the same as all of their Zinfandels with a native yeast fermentation and was aged 15 months in 80% used barrels with just 20% new and are a combination of American and French oak, with Passalacqua favoring the French oak, which was 80% of the lot, all of which allows for transparency as well as giving the wines a sense of luxurious mouth feel and clarity. Turley first made their Duarte in 1995 and continues today to be one of their most distinct examples, with 2018, 2019 and 2020 versions all being outstanding!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive