Monday, March 4, 2013

Feeling a LIttle Topsy Turley

Don't get me wrong, I don't ever want to diss a sunny Spring day in Vancouver. I'll admit, at times, they can feel few and far between. However, those early Spring days often mean work around and outside the house. Even though we'd never want to be taken for one of those houses that leave Christmas lights up all year, there's not much chance anyone's going to climb trees for Christmas lights in the pouring rain.

Those sunny days and chores can make for a fairly decent photo op though. We don't often find "bears" stranded up in trees in the urban city.

We can also be thankful that the sun lends itself nicely to the thought of bringing out the BBQ or the smoker. There's no easy way to keep a smoker - full of pork butt - working away in a steady rainfall. At least not that I'm aware of. And, boy, do we love Boo's pulled pork. I can testify to the fact that it pays to live under the same roof as transplanted Southerner. It doesn't do much good in the way of helping to keep our girlish figures in line, but I've think I've reached the point in life where I'm okay with the fact that I shall never again be a studly Calvin Klein underwear model. (As if I ever was.)

That good day's work does mean, however, that there's no guilt whatsoever in pulling out a treat of a bottle when it comes time to dig into that pork. Not in the least.

1266. 2007 Turley Juvenile Zinfandel (California)

Wine Spectator has previously stated that "Turley's wines leave no room for ambivalence. Many consumers consider the rich, concentrated reds iconic, while other find the 'big boys' as Turley calls some bottlings, stylistically over-the-top." I can't speak from much experience on the matter - since Turley wines are either difficult to find locally or prohibitively expensive, or both - but I'm pretty sure that Boo and I would fall on the "iconic" side of the fence.

The winery was established in 1993, after owner Larry Turley sold his interest in Frog's Leap, another well-known California winery. Zinfandel was Turley's favourite varietal to make and he made it the focus of the new winery. It quickly established itself as one the few "cult" Zinfandels being made. While old vine Zinfandel is often seen as the key to Turley's success, the winery's early emphasis on ripeness was just as critical.

The winery also realized that the grapes will ripen differently on younger vines. Those grapes generally need to be picked earlier as younger plants tend to be more vigorous and ripen sooner. Rather than throw the fruit from younger vines into the premium vineyard designated wines, Turley uses that "younger" fruit to produce a regional blend that is composed of grapes from a variety of sites. The resulting wine can be even more exuberant and fresh - and, ultimately,more reasonably priced.

The Juvenile wines are among the larger productions of Turley wines but, even then, there still isn't a lot of it. There were only 14,000 cases - of all of Turley's wines - produced in 2007 vintage and less than a thousand of those cases would be Juvenile. Total production had apparently increased to about 16,000 cases by 2011 but even that's still not a lot of wine. The oft told story is that there has been as much as a two-year waiting list to be added to the wine club membership so that you can even buy the wine from the winery.

Unfortunately, for us, Turley wines will likely remain rarer than a sunny Vancouver day in early Spring, but we're going to continue to enjoy both - whenever the opportunity arises.

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