I think my head may explode…
So, a few years ago, when Turley actually did release a Cab, it was called “The Label.” Admittedly, it was very good, but I assumed it was a “one off” or maybe a “two off” and that would be it and my world would not be shaken. But, it wasn’t long before the name “The Label” was dropped and last year Turley released a Turley Wine Cellars Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
What on earth is happening here?
And now with the 2013 vintage, two more Cabernet bottlings have been added to the latest release.
Here, from the Turley website, is information about all three Cabs:
Turley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Certified organic, Napa Valley single vineyard, pure Cabernet Sauvignon–not something that can be said by many! This wine has ripe, deeply red Napa Cabernet fruit, rounded out by the savory herbs and garrigue that are the marks of our Estate vineyards. Medium-bodied, with great structure and a solid backbone, which will allow it to age for some time (if you must). However, with its inviting texture and supple, well-integrated tannins, the wine is exceedingly approachable in its youth.
Dragon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
When we first planted the Dragon Vineyard, the fact that Howell Mountain is hallowed ground for Cabernet Sauvignon did not escape us. Thus, though we filled the vast majority of the site with Zinfandel, we also planted a small parcel with Cabernet Sauvignon. At 2200 feet, the mountain looms large in this wine, with a powerful nose of pepper, game, graphite, and a touch of sweet anise seed. These are echoed on the full bodied palate as well, and together with the formidable tannins that are a signature of Howell Mountain, it’s easy to see why this is such a revered site for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Old vine Cabernet Sauvignon is extremely rare; old vine dry-farmed mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is dang near nonexistent. Planted at 1800 feet up Moon Mountain in Sonoma in the late 1960’s, the head-trained Montecillo vines are nearly 50 years old, and the wine they produce is downright mystical.
The profound nose pulls you in, with layer upon layer of vivid blue black fruits, India ink, scorched earth and violet perfume. The perfectly proportioned palate balances classic Cabernet Sauvignon structure, mountain tannins, and lush textures, culminating in a lengthy, lingering finish. Montecillo is pure, elegant magic, without any tricks.
My wife Karen and I had occasion to taste these wines and talk with Christina Turley about them.
Christina told us that when the Dragon Vineyard was planted, former Turley winemaker Ehren Jordan convinced Larry 15 years ago that one day one of his daughters might want to make some Cabernet Sauvignon. Ehren was right; one of them does. Actually, she wanted three and that’s what winemaker Tegan Passalacqua has done.
All the wines showed good fruit without any overpowering oak treatments, which is one of my biggest complaints about California Cabernet. “If I wanted to taste wood, I’d eat a tree” or something like that. All drinking nicely now but with structure for aging. Definitely hard to pick a favorite.
Karen preferred the Estate Cab. I was on the fence between the mellowness of the Estate and the spicier Monticello until I tasted the Dragon Vineyard. There’s just something about that mountain fruit that hits my sweet spot, especially with Cabernet Sauvignon.
These wines are definitely not just about the [Turley] label, but are about enjoyment and are definitely worthy additions to the Turley lineup.
Limited release, mailing list only, although the Estate Cab is sometimes available in the tasting rooms.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.