Turley Estate Vineyard, Napa Valley
Starting with just a 5-acre purchase of an old frog farm in 1974, the Estate Vineyard has grown to a whopping 75 acres on the North end of St. Helena. In a wine region famous for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, Larry has held true to his love of Zinfandel and Petite Syrah - even re-planting Cabernet vines to more Zin!
This vineyard is special to all of us here at the winery; right in our backyard, it’s what we see every day at work (and from the family home!). In 2006, we planted 6 acres of head-trained dry-farmed Zinfandel that compliments the original planting from ten years prior, all of which are certified organic.
- Year Planted: 1996, 2006, 2011, 2015 (Zinfandel)
- Varieties Grown: Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Sauvignon Blanc
- Wines Produced: Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc
- Vineyard Size: 75 acres
- Organic: Yes, CCOF Certification obtained in 1996
- Farming Method: Dry farmed and a mix of head-trained (10x10 spacing) and trellis wire (3x6 spacing).
- Primary Soil Profile: Perkins gravelly-loam
- Elevation: 320 - 280 ft.
- AVA: Napa Valley - Saint Helena
- First Turley Vintage: 1993*
*first Turley Estate wine produced was Sauvignon Blanc - vines have since been re-planted to Zinfandel
2016 Zinfandel Tasting Notes:
Pure, gleamingly fresh red and purple fruits, allspice, and the familiar underbrush and garrigue characteristic of the Estate burst forth on the nose, with just a hint of chocolate-covered citrus. The palate is well-rounded and refined, with classic Napa sophistication; fans of our Aida wines of yore will find it resurrected here. Lively and ready to relish in its youth!
A little history...
Long before the existence of the frog farm (we will get to that in a second), there was a people group calling themselves Onastis (the "outspoken ones") residing in the area. The riparian habitat appealed to Spanish soldiers as well, as they claimed the region for their own. The outspoken group of natives were then named Wappo, meaning brave and handsome. Fast-forward a few years, and we get to the part of the story where Larry purchases a 5-acre frog farm in the small town of Saint Helena in 1974.
It was on this old frog farm where Larry met a young, aspiring winemaker named John Williams who was camping on the property (unbeknownst to Larry). After a couple bottles of wines, the two pledged to start a winery together. In 1979, Larry planted 2 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, and in 1981, Frog's Leap Winery was bonded and made its first wines from grapes purchased from Spottswood. Larry continued as a partner of Frog's Leap until 1993 when he sold his share back to John and his family, and Larry started Turley Wine Cellars at the old frog farm. The 2 blocks of Sauvignon Blanc were finally replanted to Zinfandel in 1996, thus starting the era of Turley Estate Zinfandel. Petite Syrah was planted in 1997, 2006, and 2011. More Zinfandel was planted in 2006, 2011, and 2015.
Distinctive Characters, Wines, and More:
The Estate Vineyard is about 320-280 feet above sea level (from west to east). The sloping elevation allows the cold air during frost events to slowly drain down to the south/east corner of the ranch and eventually to the Napa River. Five wind machines on the property facilitate the mixing of the inversion layer of air to keep sensitive new buds from falling below 32 degrees and being damaged by ice formation within the delicate, newly-expanding tissue in the spring. A consistent thermal gradient from south to north based on distance from San Pablo Bay has traditionally dictated what varieties have been planted where in the valley for hundreds of years. The notable exception is the area adjacent to the Mayacamas Gap / Chalk Hill Gap that periodically spills cooler coastal air and moisture into the northern Napa Valley just west of the Turley Estate. This consistent pattern of afternoon cooling during the hottest months of the year tend to slow the rapid development of sugar while allowing the fruit to naturally develop more intense flavors than it does in other hotter regions.
Starting as a harvest intern in 2003, Tegan Passalacqua now oversees all winemaking efforts across all three Turley wineries. With a decade and a half in our winery's cellar, Tegan continues to showcase wines with stylistic consistency and grace. Whether it be Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Petite Syrah, you can expect each wine from the Estate Vineyard to showcase the beautiful yet powerful displays of terroir here in our backyard.