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International Wine Cellar
May 200994 Medium ruby. Pungent, rocky aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, violet and pepper. Compellingly juicy and penetrating, with outstanding silky density leavened by pungent spice and violet lift. This really resounds on the long, minerally aftertaste. These vines were planted in 1885. Another knockout from this superb site.
December 200890-92 Another offering from the chalky, limestone soils of Paso Robles is the 2007 Zinfandel Ueberroth Vineyard. It reveals a Burgundian-like character with a delicacy and restraint that are atypical for a Turley Zinfandel. Good acidity along with notes of crushed rocks, kirsch, and ripe strawberries are present in this medium to full-bodied, distinctive effort. As always, a mind-boggling array of Zinfandels and Petite Syrahs has been produced by the world’s premier Zinfandel specialist, Larry Turley. He deserves remarkable credit for his “holy grail” quest to locate largely forgotten parcels of old Zinfandel vines, and preserve as many of these historic sites as possible. Like most Zinfandels, Turley’s are best drunk during their first 5-6 years of life, although in certain vintages, some wines can handle a decade worth of cellaring. However, the glory of Zinfandel is its youthful, exuberant, flamboyant, spicy, peppery, briery fruit. It will not achieve greater complexity or flavor dimension by extended cellaring. All of these Zinfandels come from dry-farmed vineyards, a majority of them being old head-pruned sites planted by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. The wines are aged in 20% new French oak, and are bottled with little clarification. Total production for Turley Wine Cellars is slightly more than 15,000 cases. They also make a small quantity of white wine. No one makes more concentrated or ageworthy wines than Larry Turley’s Petite Syrahs. This is California’s most underrated, long-lived varietal, and having had experience with 20-30 year old Petite Sirahs, they actually do improve in the bottle, becoming remarkably civilized with outstanding aging potential. They can match Cabernet Sauvignon for the longest lived varietal in California, but they can be so impenetrable, thick, and broodingly backward in their youth that only a small number of consumers follow them.