The 1997 Zinfandel Dogtown (15.3% alcohol) is from a 65-year old vineyard situated on the border of Amador. Its dark ruby/purple/garnet color is followed by copious quantities of briery, berry fruit intermixed with loamy soil, underbrush, and spicy notes. Full-bodied and chewy, with excellent ripeness, this tasty, fleshy, full-throttle Zinfandel 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.
Medium ruby, less saturated than the above. Darker aromas of cassis, black raspberry, blackberry, pepper and gunflint. Cooler and rather tightly wrapped in the mouth; a nicely delineated wine with a sizable structure. Finishes firm and long, with youthfully tough tannins. Much fresher than the above sample from Lodi.
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2013 Solomon Hills "Solomon Hills Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)