Turley has 50 Zin Varietals! WOW, 8/25/22

​​Steve O’Brian, expert and former owner of a distribution center, is the tasting room manager and we had a great educational session, learning much more than about Turley, but soil, Prohibition, and more. A great educator, so several topics covered.

Steve O’Brien of Turley

ABOUT TURLEY:  Turley has 30 bottlings of ​just ​Zinfandel​, each representing the terrior of the area and reflects the diversity of just that varietals. Thought to be the largest single Zinfandel acrage owner, they had​​ 20 blocks on Zinfandel ​onsite at Paso Robles​, but also Napa headquarters and others.  They can demontrate that even​ one​ individual block produces different flavors​, and differences seen when another side of ​the same ​hill ​that gets sun changes the flavors.

Turli Tasting Room, warn and inviting

In addition to Estate properties, Turley also buys from others that share their approach: Old vines, dry farmed, organic, and a spacing approach.  They believe in starting new vineyards spaced sparsely to allow adolescent vines to get established so that they can become old vines. Quality versus quantity and long-term health.  Zinfandel is a small cluster grape​ and​ small producing​.

PROHIBITION. We talked about how they acquired some small OLD VINES from families, which lead to a Prohibition discussion​. Most people don’t remember that 200 gallons of wine was allowed to be grown for personal consumption ​by a family, and so this is how we have ​OLD vines today ​– they were grown on personal home​steads and they recently purchased one.

​BOTTLE AND BRANDING is clear at Turley. Classic slope​d​ shoulder bottle​.  Turley made a proprietary mold to create a “Zinfandel bottle​” which hadn’t existed.  It doesn’t fit into most wine shelves or cases well, but it is distinct!

​LIMETONE – Steve gave us a lesson about calcarious porous shale or limestone that is a better from the sea bed.  Create​s​ a higher pH environment allows the grapes​ to be​ bright and yet ripe.  And over time​, ​tannins do not get better​,​ ​but the fruit fades​, so they need that acidity to preserve the fruit.  

TEMPERATURE SWING HELPS – The diurnal temperature swing keeps the sun on the grapes to ripen them and cools off to protect the acid.​ 

OAK – Turley is light oak influence on wine; uses it but doesn’t want to taste it much, wants fruit to shine.  In a warmer climate​ grape, oak ​can ​produce flavors of buttered popcorn but in a cool climate it creates more texture. The oxidative environment is good for the acid, but it affects grapes differently.

​The Wines we tried of their many available, really differentiates the variations of Zinfandel:

1. Juvenile, is one of the best values $23. I thought it was a lot like a teenager ​in that it was young and developing​, bright and fruity, with a lot of red fruit.

2. Steacy Ranch, from Lodi. Red fruit with Carignane and Grenache mixed in the field.  Red fruit profile, cherry and a little earthiness

3.  Pesenti –  very delicious pasta fruit that has a lot of nice jammy fruit. Competition of red with a little bit of black.. very easy sipping on the edge of being big. Limestone base.  Bought some ​of this one; liked the Paso ripe fruit best.​

4.  Dusi vineyard complete different topography. Alluvial soils. It offered a lot more baking spice like cinnamon, and cherry flavors. Completely different​ although​ not is deeply jammy as Pesenti, Yet richly spicy and flavorful.  Bought some.

5.  Estate Vineyard, Napa Valley -more grippy tannins in mouth watering​, from th​e original ​T​urley property in Napa and where the turley family lives.​  Delivering classic Napa big tannin.​

70% is​ sold Direct to Consumer, and only 5​%​ in the tasting rooms​,​ and only 20% for around the country distribution​, so Wine Club members get first shot and the rest may be harder to find.  

Overall it was a cool review of Zinfandel.  I like the color green, specifically Sage, and there are many more colors of green layers out there.  Cool to learn ​Zinfandel​ is so varied like this.  Would try a Turley bottle of any location again!


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