Robert Parker 94 Points: "Generous and dramatic, the 2016 Petite Syrah Pesenti Vineyard is quite different in profile from Turley's Petite Syrahs (they don't spell it "Sirah") from the North Coast, bursting from the glass with a rich bouquet of balsamic cherry, dark fruit compote and grilled meat. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, lavish and expansive, with plush but abundant tannins, juicy acids and an ample core of fruit.
One of California's great wineries, Larry Turley's Turley Wine Cellars continues to play a critical role in safeguarding the Golden State's viticultural heritage, saving old, head-trained and sometimes own-rooted vineyards from destruction. With fully 29 different bottlings, Zinfandel (often complemented by small amounts of other co-planted varieties, such as Carignan and Grenache) is the standard-bearer here, though Turley also does a fantastic job with other varieties, most obviously Petite Syrah. Given how distinctive each of the single-vineyard bottlings is, it's tempting to suggest (though some will no doubt think it heretical) that Zinfandel might be the variety best adapted to expressing "terroir" in California. While Turley's wines are often ripe, lusty reds that push 15% alcohol—Passalacqua says he wants "Zinfandel to taste like Zinfandel"—they are, on average, about 1% lower in alcohol now than in the last decade, and their new oak component (which includes American oak) is more discreet than it sometimes was in the past. What's more, all of Turley's sites are now certified organic or are undergoing conversion to organic. To my palate, the wines have only become purer and more expressive. With the 2016 vintage, reviewed here, Passalacqua feels that “the perfume is back,” as vines that are recovering from draught conditions have once again produced wines abundantly endowed with fragrant, vibrant fruit tones. They all come warmly recommended."
ALL BOTTLES ARE 750 ML UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
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