2021 Turley Wine Cellars, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County.
One of my favorites in Turley’s recent releases, is this Del Barbara Vineyard Contra Costa County Zinfandel in what is the debut for this single vineyard wine from vines planted in the1980s. This delicious 100% Zinfandel is lively and fresh on the full bodied palate with crushed boysenberry, raspberry, tangy blueberry, Summer plum and red currant fruits, along with cinnamon spice, fig paste, a fine mineral tone, sandalwood, bright sagey herbs and anise. There’s some thrilling layering here, delicate florals and a nice pop of acidity from a pretty cool and even growing season, even here in the warm Contra Costa County, all of which allows this deeply opaque purple/garnet Zinfandel to really shine in the glass. Turley notes that this vineyard, with its Zinfandel sees sustainable viticulture with classic head-trained vines that are all hand harvested. As per normal for Turley these days, fermentation is done with native yeasts and mainly de-stemmed grapes that are crushed and macerated with temperature controlled stainless tanks to preserve freshness and aromatics. After being fermented the wine is pressed and racked to barrel, with 80% used oak, 20% new employed with a combination of 80% French oak, and 20% American, with this wine matured15 months in barrel, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Turley adds that after working with the fruit from Del Barba for over a decade, they are proud to present this first single-vineyard bottling for Turley collection, and it is an impressive wine. The Del Barba Vineyard, in Contra Costa, is on the delta where the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers meet, and set in deep dehli blow sand, as the winery adds, made up of decomposed granite coming down from the Sierra Mountains. The resulting wine, is what Turley exclaims, the embodiment the best of the delta, offering up silken textures, ultra fine tannin, and dark saline fruits, which clearly is the case and I certainly will be looking for the 2023 next Spring.

The iconic Turley Wine Cellars, as I’ve mentioned many times here, is one of California’s most desirable labels and one of the top Zinfandel producers in the state, it was founded in 1993 in Napa Valley by Larry Turley, the ex emergency room doctor and flying enthusiast, who grew up on farms in the south, where he gained a huge respect for the land and wanted to produce authentic Californian wines. Now, with winemaker Tegan Passalacqua leading the efforts, Turley hand crafts about 50 different wines each vintage from more than 50 unique sites across California, with some vineyards in the collection dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, making them well over a hundred years old. Passalacqua has raised the game here at Turley and they really respect the history of these vines, putting a lot of effort into the care of these old vines, relying on organic farming and preserving these old vine vineyards with California’s classic varieties, as Turley says, they aim to both create and preserve California’s unique winemaking culture and traditions. Turley, looking to the future has put together an impressive team, with Larry’s daughter, Christina Turley, who joined the winery full time in 2010 leading the sales and marketing efforts from the Napa headquarters in Saint Helena. Turley, a visionary, brought a few lesser known properties in California’s Zin locations over the last couple of decades, like their Pesenti site in Paso Robles and more recently the Karly winery in Amador County. I must say, these Contra Costa wines, which sometimes fly a bit under the radar, are stunning efforts and this new 2021 vintage Del Barba Vineyard is outstanding, a real sleeper in the Turley Zin portfolio, which is jam packed with quality offerings. As I said in my latest series of reviews, I have really become a huge admirer of Turley’s Sierra Foothills Zins too, along with these Contra Costa bottlings, especially in recent years, with the 2018, 2019 and 2021 vintages being exceptional, so be sure not to miss them.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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