2021 Turley Wine Cellars, Old Vine Zinfandel, California.
The ripe and lively Old Vine Zin from Turley is an old and rewarding friend, deeply hued and layered, this 2021 vintage looks to be a classic with black raspberry, plum, prune, fig and blueberry fruits on the full bodied palate, along with hints of sweet coco, allspice, anise, loamy earth, creme de cassis and creamy wood accents. This wine is perfect for chilly winter nights and hearty meals, and or great with rustic hard cheeses and meat dishes. This dark purple and magenta vintage has concentrated flavors, luxurious mouth feel and a bit of lift from natural acidity, allowing for it to not get overtly heavy or port like. I’ve mentioned before, the famous Turley Wine Cellars, one of America’s great wineries, was founded in Napa Valley by former emergency room physician Larry Turley and now hand crafts about 50 different small lot wines sourced from mostly historic old vine vineyards throughout California. As seen here in their Old Vine Zin, along with Turley’s own estate sites in the Napa Valley, in St. Helena, as well as their Paso Robles and Amador County properties. Winemaker and vineyard manager Tegan Passalacqua, who is a keeper of old California traditions, is one of America’s great talents and heroically manages the vast collection of vineyards! Turley’s Old Vine Zinfandel continues to be a testament to how these old vines produce a naturally more complex, balanced, and sustainable wine.

Turley’s classic dark purple and inky Old Vine Zinfandel, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times here, comes from vines that are anywhere from 41 to 129 years old, and gives a true representation of, as the winery notes, what California old vine Zinfandel should be. This wine uses sustainable grown grapes from vineyards, some too small to name and others that are heritage gems in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lodi, Contra Costa, Amador and Paso Robles. Almost all the grapes here are from certified organic vines that are hand tended, and the wine is naturally native yeast fermented, in small lots, then pressed and aged for a year in mainly neutral oak, with 80% being French and 20% being American barrels, with only a small percentage of new wood. Turley first produced this “Old Vine” cuvée twenty some years ago, back in 2000, and it remains one of the most important and authentic wines they make today, and this 2021 continues to be a delicious part of California history in the glass. It should also be noted that lots of California’s history is told through these ancient Zinfandel vines, most originally planted, as Turley explains as a result of the California Gold Rush in 1849. Indeed, and interestingly, immigration patterns within California can often be traced through the names of many of these old vineyards, as well as, to the way and which varietals they planted, from the Germans of Lodi (Kirschenmann, Bechtoldt, Schmeid) to the Portuguese of Contra Costa (Evangelho, Salvador, Mori) to the many Italians of Sonoma and Paso Robles (Pesenti, Martinelli, Dusi), all of contribute to the soul of this wine.
($33 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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