Turley Duarte Vineyard Zinfandel 1997
Wine AdvocateThe 1997 Zinfandel Duarte Vineyard (from 102-year old vines; 15.4% alcohol) is the finest wine I have tasted from this source. Duarte is one of the few remaining California vineyards where the vines are planted on their own roots, rather than being grafted, as the region's sandy soils have proved to be resistant to the phylloxera disease. This wine always seems to have a dusty, balsam wood, Provencal herb, peppery note, but the 1997 reveals more cherry liqueur and black raspberries. Additionally, the color is a saturated dark ruby/purple. Full-bodied and concentrated, with deep layers of flavor that inundate the palate, it should drink well for 5-7 years. As I have stated many times in the past, Turley Cellars' offerings have become the reference point for Zinfandel, as they are the most complex, concentrated, hedonistic wines ever produced from this varietal. Critics claim the alcohol levels are too high, but proprietor Larry Turley and his winemaker, Ehren Jordan, would argue that the alcohol levels are high only because they harvested fully ripe fruit. Turley and Jordan have also taken the art of wine making to a higher playing field. At the same time, they have resurrected a bevy of old head-pruned Zinfandel vineyards that had largely been ignored, or had their crops sold off to be unceremoniously blended into white Zinfandel. Turley Cellars' goal is to produce 10,000 cases of unfiltered, hand-crafted Zinfandel. As for the 1997 Zinfandels, Larry Turley feels they "are the best wines we have yet made." The wines are amazingly good, and as the following tasting notes suggest, readers could buy blind here and always end up with a juicy, complex, mouth filling Zinfandel.
Wine SpectatorVery ripe and jammy, with layers of plum, black cherry, wild berry and spice. Finishes with a cedary edge and drying tannins. Drink now through 2004. 1,018 cases made.