Strange choice for a name, isn’t it? ’Juvenile’. A good word with a bad rap, it calls to mind delinquency and detention centres; puerile behaviour and immaturity. Not necessarily good stuff. But this wine’s name couldn’t be more misleading — because Turley’s Juvenile Zinfandel 2018 is good stuff. Really good stuff.
The classic Californian Zinfandel has been carefully created by experienced winemaker Larry Turley, who established Turley Wine Cellars in 1993. Using grapes harvested from Turley’s younger vines — spread across 11 sun-soaked Californian counties — this is a vegan-friendly marvellous medley of a red. And only a limited batch is created every year, so you’ll be lucky if you manage to bag a bottle. Let’s have a try…
On the eyes: When you finally manage to heave the bottle to the lip of your glass (there’s a weight to it that’ll have weaker wine racks creaking with worry), the first thing you notice is the darkness. It’s so deep and rich in colour that you’ll be able to taste those dark fruits before you even take a whiff. Think treacly tones — with sharp highlights of rosy pink when the light catches.
On the nose: Forget ‘Juvenile’. This smells ripe. The glass hums with the meaty aromas of big, dark berries. In fact, it’s so juicy on the nose that you’ll think you’ve taken a swig, not a sniff. There’s also a pungent savoury undercurrent below the sweeter currants — with the very faint fragrance of certain winter spices; we’d say cinnamon, if you pressed us.
On the palate: More of the same, really — although the berries start to show themselves with more confidence. Blueberry is definitely in the mix, as is mellow raspberry and perhaps a hint of redcurrant? Maybe even bilberry — whatever that is. The sweeter spices also get you in the gums, with nutmeg and vanilla soaking up some of that juicy fruit flavour. Exceedingly well-balanced.
On the finish: None of that normal claggy Zinfandel nonsense. There’s a brief after-dinner dash of strong coffee and crusted port — but then a swift, refreshing release. Some floral notes linger, but even these soon give way to a vaguely jammy glow. It’s never cloying; simply sweet. And well worth a try.
Turley Zinfandel ‘Juvenile’ 2018
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