Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Turley Zinfandel Whitney Tennessee Vineyard

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The October Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Turley Zinfandel Whitney Tennessee Vineyard.

I chose this wine as my Zinfandel of the month because I knew so little about the history of the wine. I do recall Turley made a Whitney Tennessee Zinfandel in the mid 90’s then after a twenty year hiatus they began making the wine again in the 2015 vintage. This small, estate-owned, pre-Prohibition vineyard was purchased by the winery in 2009 and was part of the Old Vines blend while the vineyard team brought the vineyard back to health. Planted on loam and various gravel soils, the Whitney Tennessee vineyard—named for one of Larry’s four daughters—is a mixed planting as well, with small amounts of Petite Syrah and Carignane vines throughout. The vineyard is located just off Alexander Valley Road in Sonoma. The most curious aspect is this is not the same vineyard used by Turley in the mid 90’s. The vineyards just have the same name.

Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley and specializes in small lots of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from some of California’s most historic and treasured vineyards. Turley now makes right around 50 separate wines from 47 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s. Tegan Passalacqua is the Director of Winemaking at Turley and has been instrumental in revitalizing the brand.

Purple in color. 15.8% ABV. Sublime nose of red fruits, Twizzlers, peach and pepper. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity and notable balance. Just packed with bright, juicy, red fruits. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry and pepper on the palate. The finish on the wine is exquisite. Stunning Zinfandel that is aging beautifully. Best over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 94 points.

With all due respect to Carlisle, Turley is arguably the best Zinfandel producer in California. Certainly the scale of the operation is second to none. Exceptional vineyards sources throughout the state of California and no detail spared in the winemaking process. The wines are simply better than ever.

Turley wines are available via the mailing list and periodically at retail. Turley has tasting rooms in both Amador and Paso Robles. If you are not on the mailing list, this is an easy way to secure bottles. Both are not to be missed if you are in the area.

Turley fared well in The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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