A classic, bold Cali Zin loaded with spice, jammy fruit and sweet, woodsy oak.
Winery: Beginning with just one vineyard in St. Helena in 1993, Larry Turley established Turley Wine Cellars. Today Turley Wine Cellars consists of 38 different old vine vineyards throughout California. The majority of the vineyards are single varietal Zinfandel or Petite Sirah [some vines even date back to the 1800’s]. “Larry has never met an old vine vineyard he didn’t like”, and the winery excels at crafting wines from these single vineyards. Turley Zinfandels are noted for their “cult status”, their wine club has a waiting list that spans out over 2 years.
Philosophy: “We aim to be stewards of some of California’s most distinctive vineyards,
producing authentic wines that reflect their heritage.”
Winemaking: All of Turley’s vineyards are either Certified Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, or in the process of being certified. Grapes for ‘Old Vines’ are sourced from vineyards that are too small to be bottled on their own along with “newer sites for the Turley family (and way of farming)” that need more time before they will be given separate vineyard designations. Vines range in age from 18 to 80 years and are spread over Central and North Coast California. 20-35% new French oak is used in aging.
Tasting notes: Red-violet in colour with compelling aromas of cherry, raspberry, chocolate, black pepper and sweet oak. Well-crafted with succulent cherry, blackberry, crushed black peppercorn and oak flavours glossed by silky tannins and good acidity. Espresso, chocolate, vanilla and more black pepper comprise the lengthy, plush finish. A classic, bold Cali Zin loaded with spice, jammy fruit and sweet, woodsy oak.
Produced and Bottled by Turley
$38 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2018
Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator
Winery: Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley in 1993. Beginning with just one vineyard in St. Helena, today Turley Wine Cellars consists of 38 different old vine vineyards throughout California. The majority of the vineyards are single varietal Zinfandel or Petite Sirah [some vines even date back to the 1800’s]. “Larry has never met an old vine vineyard he didn’t like”, and the winery excels at crafting wines from these single vineyards. Turley Zinfandels are noted for their “cult status”, their wine club has a waiting list that spans out over 2 years. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has said this of the Dogtown Zinfandel: “I would go so far as to say this might be one of the all-time greatest Zinfandels ever produced in Lodi”.
Philosophy: We aim to be stewards of some of California’s most distinctive vineyards,
producing authentic wines that reflect their heritage.
Winemaking: All of Turley’s vineyards are either Certified Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, or in the process of being certified. Dogtown Vineyard was planted in 1944 and is located in the rolling hills of Clements Hills AVA. The region is known for its clay and volcanic soils. The vine yields “are consistently the lowest of all our vineyards”. Fermented with only natural yeasts and aged for 15 months in 80% used French oak, 20% new American oak.
Tasting Notes: Inky red violet in colour with aromas of dense raisin, plum and a touch of smoky cedar. Luscious cherry, blackberry and plum drape around a core of baking and peppery spices. Dark chocolate, silky fruit and smoky wisps linger enticingly between each sip. Sumptuous and opulent with a genteel edge, it’s not surprising how swiftly each glass empties [the heady alcohol content is nowhere to be tasted].
$66 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2020
Rated 95 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
A fantastically well-balanced Zinfandel crafted from some of the oldest vines in Sonoma.
Estate: Valley of the Moon is one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County, California. Grapes were first planted in 1863, and the original stone barrel cellar, constructed by Eli Sheppard in 1887 for Madrone Vineyards, is still in use today. Brothers Enrico Parducci and Peter Domenici purchased the 60 acre estate in 1941. They renamed the estate Valley of the Moon in honor of its lengthy history in Sonoma Valley [Valley of the Moon is the English translation of the Native American word Sonoma]. Planted in the 1940’s, one of their Zinfandel vineyards has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in the region. The estate is also at the forefront of “up-and-coming wines” such as Barbera, Syrah, Sangiovese and Cuvée de la Luna, “a proprietary Bordeaux-inspired blend”.
Philosophy: “To at last honor the rich history of our Sonoma Valley winery, its true sense of place and sustained sense of purpose with wines of exceptional quality and of genuine provenance.”
Winemaking: The vineyards are noted for their rich volcanic soil and “distinctive ‘banana belt’ microclimate”. Sustainable and organic viticulture is practiced, with only natural soil amendments and pest control used.
Tasting Notes: Inky red violet in colour with aromas of cherry, white pepper and autumn woods. A rich cherry note runs thru to the finish, joining toasty oak, vanilla, black pepper and hints of caramel. Plush with a balanced use of oak, just be sure to decant for an hour or so to let those flavours plump up.
Produced and Bottled by Valley of the Moon Winery
Enjoy now thru 2017
A full bodied California Zin with ample fruit and spice, along with a moderate touch of oak and budget friendly price make this a seasonal crowd pleaser.
Armida Winery is a family estate headed by brothers Steve and Bruce Cousins. In 1994 they set about transforming the existing estate into a “much livelier place focusing on artisan, single-vineyard wines from the top growers in Sonoma County. They strive to craft wines that are fun, friendly and display a sense of warm hospitality. They produce vineyard-designated wines from many of the top vineyards in California such as Maple Vineyards Zinfandel and Maple Vineyards Tina’s Block, along with Castelli Knight Ranch Pinot Noir, Gold Mine Ranch Zinfandel, and Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir. From their own 7 acre vineyard they produce ‘Il Campo’ (“Field Blend”), a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Syrah.
Winemaking: “While we make seriously great wine, we are not afraid to have a good time. That’s why we produce PoiZin “The Wine to Die for” (Zinfandel) and the ANTIDOTE (Pinot Gris).”
Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of berry jam on toast, black pepper and baking spices. Silky and concentrated with a spicy core that spotlights black cherry and raspberry jam flavours. Smoky tobacco, caramel and more peppery spices linger on the plush finish.
*Decant to remove a vexing touch of alcohol heat on the finish.
87% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, “a splash of Sauvignon Blanc and a pinch of “secret sauce.” (You can ask all you want, but we’re not going to tell you about the secret sauce.)”
Vinted & Bottled by Armida Winery
Enjoy now thru 2017
Overall, a friendly Zinfandel; exuding fresh berries and complimenting spice. The heavy-handed oak finish weighs down the brightness of an otherwise pleasant glass.
Winery: Healdsburg Ranches is a brand of Truett-Hurst Wines, based in Healdsburg, Sonoma County California. They strive to deliver wines of “exceptional value as a result of progressive operations management, competitive grape sourcing, and state-of-the-art wine making.” Healdsburg Ranches itself is a partnership of growers and winemakers that source and combine their grapes from vineyards along the California coast, under the direction of winemaker Virginia Marie Lambrix.
Philosophy: That you will taste in their wines “what we tasted when we first started in the industry, wines that are true to their variety and place of origin, balanced, smooth, easy to drink, and hard to forget.
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from coastal vineyards ranging from Paso Robles to Mendocino County. Aged in French oak.
Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry jam, smoky oak and pepper spice. Vivid raspberry and blackberry flavours rode along velvety tannins, whilst crushed white peppercorn, hints of chocolate and concentrated oak notes comprised the lengthy finish.
Bottled by Healdsburg Ranches
Enjoy now thru 2017