2019 Turley Wine Cellars, Old Vines Zinfandel, California.
Last night, catching up with an old friend this iconic Turley Old Vine Zin provided pure and stylish pleasure to go with the occasion and a simple homemade meal with a deep sense of black raspberry, candied cherry, plum and red currant fruits seamlessly and with ripe supple tannin filled the full bodied palate along with hints of peony, minty sage herb, brambly spices, delicately sweet oak notes and Mission fig. Turley’s classic dark purple and inky Old Vine Zinfandel 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 gorgeous 2019 is one of my favorites to date. Turley’s Old Vine Zinfandel, as they continue, is a testament to how these old vines produce a naturally more complex, balanced, and sustainable wine.

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 wine minds) crafting his collection of treasures at Turley, as well as having his own wines under the Sandlands label, which are wines no one, who enjoys California wines, should miss. 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. Again, this luxurious and silken Old Vin Zin, delivers on its promise and potential is the glass, it’s a wine that just begs for drinking now and it produced plenty of smiles and comfort, in a nervous wold, making for a relaxing and laughter filled Fall evening.
($25 to $39 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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