Turley - what's the scoop?

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Sc0tt F!tzger@ld
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#1 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » January 13th, 2014, 9:47 am

Just made the mailing list. Curious from the board members - what do you think of this winery and how does it stack up against Ridge, Bedrock, etc., from which I'm already buying zins. Not sure that I need another Zin producer, but don't want to pass up a good thing. Thoughts?

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#2 Post by Michael Martin » January 13th, 2014, 9:52 am

In a word, they are "different" than the ones you mention. I buy from a number of zin producers and Turley has its own style. Some of the vineyards are excellent and some are OK. Use Cellartracker to your advantage to get an idea of what each vineyard was like on previous releases.
Also, you may not get the top shelf offerings until you buy a few releases.
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#3 Post by Dale Bowers » January 13th, 2014, 9:53 am

Love their PS, especially with about 8-10 years of age. Believe there are better values/styles of Zin out there. You've named 2 already.
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#4 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 9:58 am

I'm biased by my love of Zin and also my friendship and (non-profit) association with Tegan.

That said, Turley has a unique (IMO) status amongst CA producers. No producers have as broad a reach as Turley (which not only covers North Coast vineyards, but places like Lodi, Contra Costa, the Sierra Foothills and Paso. Their vineyard management is impeccable. They have access to fruit from vineyards like Ueberroth, Vineyard 101, Fredericks, Library, Pesenti and Hayne that few others have access to. The winemaking, under Tegan's direction is stellar.

Oh, and I like Turley.
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#5 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » January 13th, 2014, 10:02 am

Thanks gents. I'd like to try if I can figure out space. Do these age well or are they more "mid-term" drinkers?

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#6 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 10:04 am

Scott Fitzgerald wrote:Thanks gents. I'd like to try if I can figure out space. Do these age well or are they more "mid-term" drinkers?
The Petites seem to just get better and better and I've never tasted an over-the-hill Zin (for me as old as 15 years).
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#7 Post by Brian Tuite » January 13th, 2014, 10:06 am

I drink most of my Turleys in the first 3-4 years short of their PS and all the Hayne Vnyd offerings.
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#8 Post by Michael Martin » January 13th, 2014, 10:06 am

I wouldn't know. I usually have mine consumed within a few years. They all need at least year or two after release and the PS needs years. I haven't popped any of mine yet.

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#9 Post by Chris Seiber » January 13th, 2014, 10:09 am

Turley is exceptional.

The wines have big fruit, but it's usually very well-defined, brambly, fresh purple berry fruit, not blueberry milkshake or creamy or black fruit.

The oak regimen, particularly in the last 5 years or so, is dialed down to where the fruit has center stage, the oak adds some spice, but the wines don't taste of a lot of vanilla, chocolate, coffee and so forth. The alcohol levels are very high (or maybe they're just more honest with their labels?), and yet you wouldn't guess it most of the time.

I don't know the deal with the mailing list, as I just buy a box full whenever I pass through Paso, and I've heard mixed things about the ordering and selection and all. But the wines are a benchmark for the varietal and for Paso Robles.

As far as comps, they are closer to Carlisle, Dehlinger or Seghesio SVD probably in style, and not in the more claret-like style of Ridge and Bedrock (those also usually being zinfandel blends).

The two best wines of theirs consistently, for my preferences, are the Ueberroth and the Pesenti, in that order. The Juvenile offers exceptional value at $19 or whatever, and it's a wine which is true introduction to the Turley style on the low end of the scale. In other words, it's a step down from the SVDs, but it's very much a Turley.

For me, the Dusi is a bit too big, probably more of a crowd pleaser but not quite in my wheelhouse.

The Hayne is a wine of great depth, class and breeding, one which (unlike most Turley zins, which I think are at their best from release for 3-4 years) rewards ageing.

Also, Scott, if I might make any inferences from you being from Texas, Turley zin is almost the perfect wine for Texas barbeque, and for upper-quality Mexican dinners (e.g. ones based around carne asada, grilled chicken and fish, that kind of thing). The fruit is big enough not to get lost in those big flavors, the spiciness of the wines matches the food, and the wines are not tannic and thus avoid tasting bitter next to the heat that you may have in the food. Turley is also a wine that is a major crowd-pleaser, while still something a wine lover (at least a non AFWE one) can savor.

Again, I don't know about the list, but they're wines you definitely need to try, and particularly the Ueberroth and Pesenti. They are world class wines.

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#10 Post by danupdike » January 13th, 2014, 10:12 am

What the others have said, and if you are a Zin-fan, odds are you will like Turley. Allocations are small for the most part, and odds are you won't see many of their expressions at retail. I'd say try some---the Juveniles or Old Vine Zin I would put in the great QPR category like Bedrock's Old Vine Zin.
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#11 Post by Joe S. » January 13th, 2014, 10:15 am

Although I've drifted from Zins recently, I still believe Turley's are some of the best Zins out there. I just wish they would go back to a normal bottle - they are certainly hard to fit/stack, etc! [truce.gif]
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#12 Post by Chris Seiber » January 13th, 2014, 10:15 am

One unfortunate negative is the bottles. They are attractive and distinctive, but they don't fit all but the most generous wine racking, they don't stack at all, and it's just frustrating. I'm sure you've seen them before, but it's definitely an irritant.

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#13 Post by Michael Martin » January 13th, 2014, 10:17 am

If I remember correctly I didn't get offered the better vineyards like Ueberroth or Hayne and probably some of the others until I bought a couple releases. The Juvenile turned me off. I thought it was an odd expression of zin.

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#14 Post by D o u g P a b s t » January 13th, 2014, 10:26 am

Timely question, Scott - I just got the same email. Definitely agree with the others that Turley has a unique style. The times I've gotten to try their wines I found them to be very floral, perfumey, bright, and lifted, with an almost weightless texture (despite the fruit and abv). I was intrigued enough to try to get on the list.

I haven't opened any of my Bedrocks (yet) but I thought Carlisle's 2010 Rossi Ranch had a much denser, weightier character than what I've tried from Turley so far.
M. Dildine wrote:The Petites seem to just get better and better and I've never tasted an over-the-hill Zin (for me as old as 15 years).
A 2006 Dogtown a few months ago was doing just fine.

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#15 Post by Dusty Gillson » January 13th, 2014, 10:30 am

Chris Seiber wrote:Turley is exceptional.

The wines have big fruit, but it's usually very well-defined, brambly, fresh purple berry fruit, not blueberry milkshake or creamy or black fruit.
+1 Pretty much what I was going to say. To me the aromatics of these wines are also nearly unmatched. And compared to Cali Pinots, which make up most of my mailing list buys, these average $30-$50 instead of $50-$75 and I enjoy them just as much given the right mood.

As far as the bottles, I built my own racking and used my Turley bottles as my "worst case scenario" for slot sizing [snort.gif]
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#16 Post by Chris Seiber » January 13th, 2014, 10:50 am

I did the same thing, but the custom cabinet builder then didn't do them right. He rebuilt it for me, and incredibly, they were way too small yet again the second time. I took a credit against the price reluctantly.

He's since gone out of business -- shocking. You have a business that does one thing, make custom wine cabinets, and in two tries you can't even come close to putting the correct rack sizes into them, ones that were written into the plans and which I made a huge deal about before construction.

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#17 Post by Paul Miller » January 13th, 2014, 11:00 am

I still enjoy Turley. They don't seem as big as they used to, a bit more refined. Also enjoy Carlisle. I think I am too heavy in Pinots, so I am dropping some this year to buy more Cab and Zins. We eat a lot of pizza and Italian, and also a lot of grilled meats and game, so Turley and Zins work well for us.

I think the other comments are spot on.

I have not had any Bedrock, and would like to try some. Maybe at a Chicago offline someone could share, and I'll bring some Turley or Carlisle.

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#18 Post by Jody Smith » January 13th, 2014, 11:23 am

Chris Seiber wrote:One unfortunate negative is the bottles. They are attractive and distinctive, but they don't fit all but the most generous wine racking, they don't stack at all, and it's just frustrating. I'm sure you've seen them before, but it's definitely an irritant.
I don't know what your cellar situation is, but have you tried alternating orientation of each bottle in a row? This probably wouldn't work in a diamond bin, but in a square bin, they stack beautifully this way. They fit together like a puzzle both across a row and in layers up the bin. I've never seen another bottle type that stacks that efficiently.

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#19 Post by J. Singleton » January 13th, 2014, 11:25 am

I recall someone teasing Scott about being on every mailing list. It reminds me of me from about five years ago. I don't miss those days. Neither does my wallet.
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#20 Post by Chris Seiber » January 13th, 2014, 11:25 am

Paul Miller wrote:I still enjoy Turley. They don't seem as big as they used to, a bit more refined.
My feeling is that they've dialed down the oak, which leaves the wines still just as exuberant and joyous, but more defined, fresh and complex, and less heavy and rich.

I'd be interested to hear Dildine or anyone else with a Turley track record chime in if they agree. The wines have tasted fresher and more balanced to me the last five years or so, even though the alcohol levels in the 15s and 16s have not trended down. Even Berry Crawford, who has mostly an AFWE palate, was impressed trying Turley last year, at least as I recall.

So often, big fruit and big oak go together in a winery (e.g. Quilceda, Lewis, Martinelli), that I think many of us have blurred the two notions together. But when you get big, ripe, high quality fruit, at a winery that does not overseason it with oak, you can have some terrific results that are almost a best of both worlds. Denner and Carlisle are others that I think are finding this sweet spot for me.

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#21 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 11:36 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
Paul Miller wrote:I still enjoy Turley. They don't seem as big as they used to, a bit more refined.
My feeling is that they've dialed down the oak, which leaves the wines still just as exuberant and joyous, but more defined, fresh and complex, and less heavy and rich.

I'd be interested to hear Dildine or anyone else with a Turley track record chime in if they agree.
Chris, I absolutely agree. And, I don't think we're alone, among wine Geeks. A few years back I would post a note on Turley and get a blast of pushback from boardmembers who still equated Turley with Helen and an over-the-top style of winemaking. This is changing.

Tegan Passalacqua took over winemaking from Ehren Jordan a few years back and has continued - and I think refined a trend that Ehren started, of scaling back the wines to the point that they really reflect the individual sites of their remarkable vineyards. As well as any producer, to my palate, these individual offerings are extremely distinctive. I have friends who even catagorize some of the wines as "Pinot-like."
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#22 Post by John Davis » January 13th, 2014, 11:45 am

Pretty big fan and I'd agree with Mike about "scaling back the wines". I've been sharing an allocation with a guy for many years and though I don't buy a bunch I do like the wines.

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#23 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 13th, 2014, 11:58 am

Mike, Ehren Jordan was at Turley Mid 90s through 2010+? I'm not sure when the shift away from "over-the-top" started in earnest. I dimly remember stumbling around outside a Turley tasting room circa 2004 feeling like I'd imbibed two or three shots too many. The wines were tasty, but not exactly restrained. I remember a 1997 Turley Black Sears from a dinner in 2007 that a friend accurately described as: "Unabashedly huge wine. Impressive for its pure explosiveness. Potent and hot, but not stewed or pruney....Bruising in style, unapologetic take-no-prisoners wine."

I've heard repeatedly about the "pull back", and I don't doubt it. If the claim is that it happened pre 2005....I'm calling "Shenanigans". If afterwards....right on.

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#24 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Richard, I'm thinking that I began to notice the change with the 09-10 vintages? I recall that longtime Turley supporter RMP just blasted what he perceived to be a style change about 5-6 years ago. It's interesting that critics like Bonne and Galloni (who appreciate a more nuanced style) are very onboard with the current Turley offerings, I'm not sure where Parker is now.
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#25 Post by Scott G r u n e r » January 13th, 2014, 12:30 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:One unfortunate negative is the bottles. They are attractive and distinctive, but they don't fit all but the most generous wine racking, they don't stack at all, and it's just frustrating. I'm sure you've seen them before, but it's definitely an irritant.

Word to this- especially as the OP mentioned space concerns. Turley will not solve those for sure. I have to use bulk storage or magnum racking for them.

They also have a history for pretty aggressive bundling and in order to get their "top" wines, you have to buy 17 cases of their lower end. Not sure if this is still true or not though- I was never on the list, only bought a few from others.
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#26 Post by Andrew Kaufman » January 13th, 2014, 12:35 pm

M. Dildine wrote:
Scott Fitzgerald wrote:Thanks gents. I'd like to try if I can figure out space. Do these age well or are they more "mid-term" drinkers?
The Petites seem to just get better and better and I've never tasted an over-the-hill Zin (for me as old as 15 years).
Mike you know Zin [not so much politics neener] but I once bought some 30+ year old Ridge Zin and it was still more than drinkable. Once tried some 40+ year old Ridge Chenin Blanc and while it lost some of it's get up and go was still somewhat recognizable as CB.

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#27 Post by Paul Miller » January 13th, 2014, 12:36 pm

When does their offer go out? Did it already?

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#28 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 12:38 pm

Paul Miller wrote:When does their offer go out? Did it already?
Later this month, early Feb?

While new list members don't get the full offering right away, I'm not aware of any bundling.
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#29 Post by Michael Martin » January 13th, 2014, 12:42 pm

No bundling.

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#30 Post by ky1em!ttskus » January 13th, 2014, 12:48 pm

IMO, buy! The Pesenti (estate) is my favorite of their zins. And grab all the PS you can and hide 'em for as long as you want. Distinct wine, very brambly, very balanced considering the alc %, and always enjoyable.

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#31 Post by R. Gaston » January 13th, 2014, 12:56 pm

We visited last summer. I was very impressed with the toned down vision they have with their Zins. Well balanced and they had a few older wines opened that were singing. I do feel I can grab these in the secondary market but Texas is different.

I really like what Turley is doing...
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#32 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » January 13th, 2014, 1:29 pm

Wow, impressive. First off, thanks to you all for the quick and thorough responses. I think it's a testament to how many responses I received to this post, as to the passion around this wine. Irregular bottles, or not, I'm going to order some of these. I think Zin is such a wonderful wine - the "middleweight champ" of reds!

Jeb - true, true on the lists - this is my vetting process!

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#33 Post by AlexS » January 13th, 2014, 1:40 pm

Ironically tried my first Turley a few days ago, the 2010 Old Vines Zin. I thought it was exceptional. Killer nose, nice complexity and a very plush mouthfeel. Although a bit larger to me than Bedrock, Carlisle or even Ridge, it was so well-balanced. That said, it left a distinct impression as being an early drinker.

Stylistically though, I'd place the Turley into the more dark fruited Zin tier, with secondary aromatics and flavors perhaps being more overt (lots of black tea, herbs, worcestershire sauce and a touch of oak). I'd place the Bedrock and Carlisle styles as being more red-fruited, with a more lifted spice than the Turley.

Either way, add me as another Turley fan. I will definitely look for more.
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#34 Post by M Hudson » January 13th, 2014, 2:11 pm

I am mixed on them. I have been on the list two years now and have taken my allocation.

I agree I like MOST of thier wines. Oddly enough I just go grab a random wine from the cellar and 2-3 times its great. One time, I wish I had not bough the bottle.

I find the juvenile to be a decent wine on average, but not sure where you see this wine for 19 bucks.

AT roughly double the price of other zins, I will be passing on most this year.

They are unique, and when they are on, they are great wines, but too many not so goods for the price for me as of late.
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#35 Post by Scott Brunson » January 13th, 2014, 2:17 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:Turley is exceptional.

Also, Scott, if I might make any inferences from you being from Texas, Turley zin is almost the perfect wine for Texas barbeque, and for upper-quality Mexican dinners (e.g. ones based around carne asada, grilled chicken and fish, that kind of thing). The fruit is big enough not to get lost in those big flavors, the spiciness of the wines matches the food, and the wines are not tannic and thus avoid tasting bitter next to the heat that you may have in the food. Turley is also a wine that is a major crowd-pleaser, while still something a wine lover (at least a non AFWE one) can savor.
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#36 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » January 13th, 2014, 2:22 pm

My 3 favorite foods: BBQ, Tex-Mex, Cajun / Creole!

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#37 Post by John Morris » January 13th, 2014, 2:27 pm

Scott Fitzgerald wrote:Just made the mailing list. Curious from the board members - what do you think of this winery and how does it stack up against Ridge, Bedrock, etc., from which I'm already buying zins. Not sure that I need another Zin producer, but don't want to pass up a good thing. Thoughts?
A word of caution: If you really like the Ridge, Bedrock style, you might not like Turley's zins. I find a lot of the Turley's too alcoholic, and I've been served some older ones where I thought the alcohol really stood out once the fruit had dissipated a bit.

To each his own taste, of course. My tastes tend toward less ripe California styles. But if you're expecting something like Ridge or Bedrock, you might be in for a surprise.
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#38 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » January 13th, 2014, 2:34 pm

Thanks John. They seem reasonably priced - and with all the accolades I think the risk is small.

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#39 Post by John Morris » January 13th, 2014, 2:53 pm

Post here with your notes when you get 'em. I'd be curious.
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#40 Post by Chris Seiber » January 13th, 2014, 3:00 pm

To John Morris's comment (two comments ago), I would say that I think (a) the style has been adjusted in recent years, perhaps away from some of the ones that would have led to John's experiences, (b) they aren't really wines you need or want to age for a long time, and (c) I agree that these are different from the Ridge / Bedrock style, those tending to be blended with other darker/blacker grapes, and made in more of a claret style and a less exuberant style than Turley.

Probably some Turley zins would age well enough (Hayne most likely the best of all of them), but I've never sensed that any of them besides Hayne would significantly benefit from longer aging. And I'm someone who tends to prefer wines older, including wines like California pinot and zin that many people don't believe / realize can age well. The Turley zins might improve for a year or so after release.

Scott, these are going to knock it out of the park with your summer cookouts in the Lone Star State. Remember, Ueberroth and Pesenti. I think both are around $40, great value for world class wines.

Scott, if I could ask a favor, whenever you get your first ordering option, loop back to the board and tell us what it looks like -- what you are offered, what the prices are, what conditions there are. I'm curious what the mechanics are. Thanks!

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Turley - what's the scoop?

#41 Post by dougwilder » January 13th, 2014, 3:27 pm

A full report on the 2011 Turley Petite Syrah and Zinfandel appears in my current volume published today. It has only been within the last couple years of being around Tegan at HVS events that I began to appreciate what they are doing there. I didn't experience anything 'massive', even though several of the wines are still 16+%, they don't wear out the palate. I spent over 4 hours with Tegan and Christina tasting last month and we discussed a lot of the myths and preconceptions about the wines. They are a lot more than that.
itb

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Turley - what's the scoop?

#42 Post by Diana E. » January 13th, 2014, 3:50 pm

Also received this e-mail today. Expect there will be more as more of the large 2012 vintage becomes ready to release. I forwarded the e-mail to my husband with the subject line "uh oh".

Love Bedrock, Carlisle, Ridge, also love Turley. Ueberroth is a favorite, have had several vintages of that. Will be glad to get some without paying the extra tariff on Winebid etc. But darn it, they are so hard to store. And will probably be pricey to ship. We are in NM, get at least 90% of our wine shipped from CA. Need to review the mailing lists etc we purchase from and weed out the $5 plus per bottle shipping fees. It's getting out of hand.

The first high rated Turley Zin I see on CT is Atlas Peak. Haven't seen a mention of it, is it a very limited one?
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#43 Post by ky1em!ttskus » January 13th, 2014, 3:59 pm

I didn't get the email. What the hell?! :(

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Turley - what's the scoop?

#44 Post by Jim V a n P e l t » January 13th, 2014, 4:13 pm

Joe S. wrote: I just wish they would go back to a normal bottle - they are certainly hard to fit/stack, etc! [truce.gif]
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#45 Post by dougwilder » January 13th, 2014, 4:15 pm

Diana E. wrote: The first high rated Turley Zin I see on CT is Atlas Peak. Haven't seen a mention of it, is it a very limited one?
Atlas Peak is Mead Ranch, Tegan told me the deflowering from Spring 2011 rains hit this site hard, resulting in .47T/a. the vineyard was originally planted in the early 20th C, but the Zin was predominantly put in in the 70s.
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#46 Post by M. Dildine » January 13th, 2014, 4:15 pm

kylemittskus wrote:I didn't get the email. What the hell?! :(
I assume the email is adding people to the list - not the offering email.
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#47 Post by ky1em!ttskus » January 13th, 2014, 4:33 pm

M. Dildine wrote:
kylemittskus wrote:I didn't get the email. What the hell?! :(
I assume the email is adding people to the list - not the offering email.
Ah!

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Turley - what's the scoop?

#48 Post by Larry P » January 13th, 2014, 4:38 pm

I'll add... Tegan is committed to each wine being an expression of its vineyard, and Turley has been on a roll under his guidance. If you're a zinfandel fan then you absolutely need to try some Turley.
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Turley - what's the scoop?

#49 Post by Jim V a n P e l t » January 13th, 2014, 4:49 pm

Michael Martin wrote:No bundling.
Perhaps not in the truest sense, but it is pretty easy to land in their doghouse, which is pretty much where I am now. Skip an offering, buy light on another, and you will see your allocations reduced dramatically. At least I did. Like "one bottle of this, and one bottle of that". Naturally, there's an opportunity at that point to wishlist for more, but the initial allocation comes across as slightly punitive.

As for the wines: of the Zins, I like most of them - Dogtown, Rattlesnake, Hayne, Ueberroth, etc. I'm on the fence with Old Vines, Juvenile and Cedarman, which generally strikes me as having less fruit depth than some of the others. More pepper, less brambles (Juvenile, Cedarman). Probably not enough data points on my part though to make a broad conclusion - though I have (rightly or wrongly) as relates to my own personal buying. I haven't tried any of the PS yet, as most here have mentioned that they are bohemoths with years of life. I only get a couple allocated per year, so there might be a case or so of these in the cellar at this point.

I agree with John Morris's point about aging of Turley Zins - I tend to find Turley's sweet spot to be anywhere from 3-5 years from release. Often, much past that they are a different wine, and less alluring for me with noticeably diminished fruit. My Turleys invariably get opened up with BBQ, chili, or something similar so I like the full fruit and residual sweetness that shows through in their younger years. Earlier - they can be a touch tight. Later, there is a tendency for the alcohol coming a bit too far forward. However, some of the top bottlings (Hayne, Ueberroth) can last much, much longer. A caveat here - most of my experience is pre-2009, or whenever the "style change" suggested by others occured.

Others have weighed in saying that Turley is a different Zin than stuff like Carlisle and Bedrock. I generally agree, though I find more similarities with Bedrock than I do with Carlisle. For my palate, Bedrock seems to stake out a bit of a middle ground between Turley (full throttle) and Carlisle ("refined"). Having said that, I've had some really nice, fairly forward Carlisles from one of the more recent releases. The signature note for me in the best of Turley Zins is a sweet brambly note that is a killer pairing with bolder, spicy foods like BBQ or brats, and I've seen that same note in both Bedrock (more often) and Carlisle (less often). As a quick clarification - I like all 3 producers. A lot!

So, anyway - I'd give it a shot and jump in if you got an offer. The first offer probably won't be that big or deep - a decent size for experimenting. Anything that you like, except for a few lower production Zins and some of the PS, can be replaced or augmented relatively easily via secondary market at fair prices via Wine-Searcher. Or WineBid for experimentation with older vintages.

Cheers,
Jim
Last edited by Jim V a n P e l t on January 13th, 2014, 5:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Turley - what's the scoop?

#50 Post by Arnold Caplan » January 13th, 2014, 4:50 pm

A lot of different bottles each mailing. Low allocations. Never seemed to gain enough traction to get to the "better" bottles.

I'd source them, rather than join the mailing list. The bottle shape also is a real pain.
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