Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel 2016
Planted in 1944, the Dogtown Vineyard is farmed by Turley Wine Cellars. This headtrained, own-rooted vineyard is within the Clements Hills AVA, which has more topography than the rest of Lodi; thus, while most vineyards in the region were furrow irrigated, the rolling hills of iron-rich clay and volcanic soil in Dogtown have been dryfarmed from the start. The vineyard has some of the most consistently low yields and best natural acidity of any other they’ve farmed.
They’ve worked with this vineyard 21 years now, making it one of the longest-running wines in Turley’s farming history. The wine has an intricate nose of dusty herbs, exotic spices, and red jeweled fruits, along with a touch of Palo Santo. The palate is rife with bright red fruits, vibrant acidity, and distinctively suave tannins. This 2016 Dogtown has an elegant structure and texture reminiscent of our favorite wines from sandy soils like Salvador and Duarte. A true Turley classic.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
From a site located on the outskirts of Lodi in the beginning of the foothills on volcanic and clay soils, the 2016 Zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard exhibits a complex nose of dried herbs, sage, cherries and raspberries. This dry-farmed vineyard planted in 1944 is the lowest yielding in Turley's portfolio, and the tiny clusters it produces show in the wine's dense, layered, richly tannic profile. It's one of the best candidates for sustained bottle age in the range this year.
Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley and makes forty-seven wines, the vast majority of which are single vineyard designate Zinfandels and Petite Syrahs. By focusing on old vine vineyards in particular, Turley aims to both create and preserve California’s unique winemaking culture.
All of Turley’s vineyards are either certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers or somewhere in the process, and the winery uses all natural yeasts in the fermentations.
Turley aims to be stewards of some of California’s most distinctive vineyards, producing authentic wines that reflect their heritage.
Positioned between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Lodi appellation, while relatively far inland, is able to maintain a classic Mediterranean climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool evenings. This is because the appellation is uniquely situated at the end of the Sacramento River Delta, which brings chilly, afternoon “delta breezes” to the area during the growing season.
Lodi is a premier source of 100+ year old ancient Zinfandel vineyards—some dating back as far as 1888! With low yields of small berries, these heritage vines produce complex and bold wines, concentrated in rich and voluptuous, dark fruit.
But Lodi doesn’t just produce Zinfandel; in fact, the appellation produces high quality wines from over 100 different grape varieties. Among them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc as well as some of California's more rare and unique grapes. Lodi is recognized as an ideal spot for growing Spanish varieties like Albarino and Tempranillo, Portugese varieties—namely Touriga Nacional—as well as many German, Italian and French varieties.
Soil types vary widely among Lodi’s seven sub-appellations (Cosumnes River, Alta Mesa, Deer Creek Hills, Borden Ranch, Jahant, Clements Hills and Mokelumne River). The eastern hills are clay-based and rocky and in the west, along the Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers, sandy and mineral-heavy soils support the majority of Lodi’s century-old own-rooted Zinfandel vineyards. Unique to Lodi are pink Rocklin-Jahant loam soils, mainly found in the Jahant sub-appellation.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. In fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.
Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.
Tasting Notes for Zinfandel
Zinfandel is a dry red wine, though typically forward in fruit. Notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice are common. Very ripe examples may express a dried fruit quakity like fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often shows red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics like juniper and menthol.
Perfect Food Pairings for Zinfandel
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.
Sommelier Secrets for Zinfandel
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.