2012 Turley "Judge Bell" Amador Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1175596 93 points Vinous

 The 2012 Zinfandel Judge Bell Vineyard is the most textured and layered of Turley's three Zinfandels from Amador County. Sweet spices, leather and dark red cherries all blossom through the mid-palate and finish in a succulent, juicy Zinfandel with tons of near and medium-term potential. (AG)  (12/2014)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (15.9% alcohol; from a vineyard planted in 1907): Captivating, complex perfume of musky raspberry, coffee, sage and wild herbs; communicates an impression of garrigue (this vineyard is actually surrounded by open land). At once dense and juicy, with lovely purity and a high pitch to its briary red berry, herb and spice flavors. Strong acidity accentuates the impression of dryness. Finishes juicy, tight and complex, with firm dusty tannins. A rather Old World style, and with considerable potential for improvement in bottle. 92+ points. (ST)  (5/2014)

89-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2012 Zinfandel Judge Bell emerges from a specific block of the Story Vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley. These head-trained, dry-farmed vines were planted in 1907. Lots of boysenberry, black cherry, pepper and earthy notes emerge from this big, rich, full-bodied, delicious Zinfandel. (RP)  (12/2013)

K&L Notes

Turley Wine Cellars makes thirty-four 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 the vineyards are either certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers or somewhere in the process, and they use all natural yeasts in the fermentations.

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Price: $54.99
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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sierra Foothills/El Dorado

- This sweeping inland territory (an AVA on its own right), encompassing El Dorado, Fiddletown, Shenandoah and Amador, has been on the grape-growing map since the Gold Rush. With the exception of high-altitude El Dorado, the vineyards here are sun-baked and hot—in other words, best suited to old-vine zinfandel, petit sirah and Rhône varietals. The cooler climes of El Dorado are ideal for cabernet, chardonnay and merlot.