Turley 2003 Old Vines Zinfandel

Every now and then, I open a bottle of wine that is so much fun to drink and gives such pleasure that before I know it, the bottle is empty. This is one of those wines. We opened this wine at a dinner of mostly leftovers (but good leftovers). It was smooth and rounded, with incredible fruit, but with enough backbone to give it complexity. I don’t have the palate or the arrogance to divine what kind of fruit it tastes like, but trust me, there is plenty of it. This wine also packs a wallop, with more than 16% alcohol. But it is so well made that it doesn’t taste hot or out of balance. There is a bit of sweetness too, almost candy-like. I think that is the alcohol and the glycerin, not any residual sugar.

Unfortunately it is difficult to find, and expensive to boot. I am on the Winery mailing list and paid retail for this wine when it was released. I think most of Turley’s wines are overpriced, but not this one!

4 Replies to “Turley 2003 Old Vines Zinfandel”

  1. It’s not difficult to find good quality zinfandels. The trick is to find the wines that are reasonably priced as well as good. I think that Rosenblum zinfandels are quite good, but the single vineyard wines are a bit pricey. Ridge wines are always a good bet, but they too are not inexpensive. Zinfandel still provides the best bang for the buck in California, but the prices are creeping toward the norm. It takes a fair bit of work to find the unheralded but yummy wines, made by the next Helen Turley (I know she doesn’t make Turley, but she is the best zin maker in California). The upside is that most zinfandels are at least palatable, which is more than I can say about merlots and cabs.

  2. Just had a Turley Zin at Bouchon and was really impressed with the wine. I also love the Hartford Zins, mostly single vineyard, same price range as Turley, try them out.

  3. What I like about Turley is their consistency. I can count on a quality wine. The problem is the pricing. I am on the mailing list, and am not paying wine store markups, but the quality/price ratio is creeping down. As for Hartford? I have had the 2002, which I liked. The 2004s and 2005s were less impressive. But that is true across the board among Northern California Zinfandels. And I am not thrilled by their single vineyard wines. They are too focused on the unique flavor of the vineyard. And the last one I had was too acidic. I don’t remember which one though.Which Bouchon? Yountville or Las Vegas? And how was the food?

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