SHAFER VINEYARDS, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley

Larry Turley and his winemakers Tegan Passalacqua and Karl Wicka continue to produce a fantastic range of wines from some of California’s oldest, head-pruned, dry-farmed Zinfandel vineyards.

They have managed to persuade the owners of some of California’s finest old vineyards to let them take total control of viticulture; farming organically, reducing yields to extremely low levels and picking very late. Winemaking is totally unmanipulated, with very gentle extraction. The wines are matured for 14-16 months in 75% French, 25% American oak barrels (25% new) and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

“Juvenile” comes from young vines (6-25 years old), interplanted, from several of their old vine designated vineyards – including Hayne, Ueberroth, Pesenti, Salvador and Vineyard 101. Whilst it offers sumptuous, joyous fruit, it also gives more than a glimpse of Turley’s single vineyard wines.

“Old Vines” comes from around 18 vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lodi, Contra Costa, Amador and Paso Robles. They are either too small to be given individual designation or very new to the Turley stable. The vines average 80 years old and the resulting wine offers more brooding depth and intensity than Juvenile.

Turley Estate is a wonderful site adjoining the winery in St. Helena, giving wines of great intensity, concentration and purity, with gleamingly fresh red and purple fruits.