August 8, 2018

Storybook & Turley - Benchmark Zinfandel

Turley 2015 'Old Vines', California
Retail:  $56.95/btl
  (12 btl/cs)

Turley 2016 'Duarte', Contra Costa
Retail:  $75.95/btl (12 btl/cs)  6 cases available

Turley 2016 'Mead Ranch', Atlas Peak, Napa
Retail:  $76.95/btl (12 btl/cs)  4 cases available

Storybook Mountain 2014 'Mayacamas Range', Napa
Retail:  $69.95/btl
(12 btl/cs)
Retail:  $39.95/btl (12 x 375 mL/cs)   

Storybook Mountain 2013 'Estate Reserve', Napa
Retail:  $124.95/btl
(12 btl/cs)  4 cases available


To Order - simply email wine@ thevineagency .ca or call 416-693-7994. We'll follow up promptly to arrange delivery.


Interpretations on Zinfandel from Two of the Masters


Turley produces Single-Vineyard, Old Vine Zinfandels from heritage site througout California.

Larry Turley founded Frog's Leap Winery in 1981 with John Williams, on a farm he’d owned since 1974.  Then in 1993, Larry sold his share of Frog's Leap, kept the property (the first certified-organic vineyard in Napa), and established Turley Wine Cellars.  All the while, working full time as an ER physician at Santa Rosa Hospital.

From the beginning, Turley focused on Zinfandel & Petite Sirah, and for the first vintage he relied on his sister Helen as winemaker.  Twenty years later, Turley produces 30+ wines, from 35 different vineyards — many dating from the 1800s.

Ehren Jordan was winemaker from the 1994 vintage.  Taking his lead from the 'no-holds-barred' style established by Helen Turley, the wines were always dramatic, a testament to the concentration provided by the remarkable old-vine sites.  In 2013, Jordan’s long-time assistant winemaker Tegan Passalacqua moved into the senior role.  Passalacqua is a Napa native, a ‘winemaker’s winemaker’ and a brilliant vineyard manager.  He joined Turley in 2003, and interned at Craggy Range (NZ), and Alain Graillot (Crozes-Hermitage).  Passalacqua is responsible for winemaking at Turley’s original Napa winery, as well as the Amador winery & vineyard (formerly Karly winery, purchased in 2012).  Karl Wicka leads the winemaking in Paso Robles at the former Pesenti winery & vineyard, purchased by Turley in 2000.

Old vine Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are a precious part of California heritage.  Turley focuses on vineyards planted in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Bringing the winemaking close to the vineyard is his way of controlling and protecting the small yields of the amazing sites.  Among the 3 locations, approximately 30,000 cases are produced annually, from 130 acres owned and 72 acres leased/managed.  The early style of wine has certainly evolved, especially as Passalacqua has exerted more influence.  His vineyard management has brought alcohol levels down, while maintaining intensity.  The wines are big, but focused, with rich flavours that balance acidity & tannins with lovely texture.  In the cellar, only 20% new oak is used, 80% of which is Burgundian, 20% American.


Storybook Mountain is an organically-farmed Single Estate. All the grapes are grown and processed on the property.

Jerry Seps worked as a sommelier before becoming a professor of European history; a tenured position he gave up in 1976 to make wine at the ‘first estate in Napa’ — Storybook being the first vineyard encountered when crossing into Napa from Knight’s Valley-Sonoma, north-west of Calistoga.

A burned out winery, its caves dating to 1883 were restored by Jerry & Sigrid Seps, who released their first commercial vintage exactly 100 years later.   On a 100-acre estate, 40 acres of east/north-east facing vineyards at 600-1200 feet, are home to 105 blocks of 28-35 year-old vines.  This is the coolest microclimate in Northern Napa (10º cooler than St. Helena), and the aspect (and red clay-loam soil) provides a longer, more even growing day, leading to Storybook’s signature style — intensity without weight.

Dr. Seps is winemaker, and his daughter Colleen assists.  The same family has worked the vineyards and harvest for 36 years.  Herbicides and fungicides have never been used, and the vineyard is certified organic.  Optimal ripeness in this cool site is managed by cordon trellising, pruning, thinning, removing leaves from the morning side of the vines, and sometimes removing the shoulders of grape clusters to ensure full, even ripening.  One to two acres of vineyard are replanted every year to maintain an average vine age that Dr. Seps feels is optimal.  In a ‘normal’ vintage 5-6,000 cases are produced, primarily interpretations of Zinfandel, but also small quantities of Cabernet and Viognier.  These are absolutely glorious wines.

In 1990, Jerry Seps founded ZAP, a movement devoted to the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel, which Dr. Seps likens to “playing flute in a string quartet” in Napa.


Storybook Mountain Notes & Reviews

Storybook Mountain 2014 'Mayacamas Range' Zinfandel, Napa

The Mayacamas Range Zinfandel is our primary estate wine from 100% Napa Valley organic, estate grown grapes. Here you will find all the varietal character and fruit for which Zinfandel is famous, plus the depth and structure associated with Napa hillside vineyards, and the balance for which Storybook wines are known. Crafted to be enjoyed on release, the wine’s notable depth and balance will continue its appeal well into the future. Occupying a mountainside at the head of the Napa Valley, Zinfandels were first planted here in 1883. It is a grape unusually well adapted to the red clay loam soils, eastern exposures and microclimate of our hillside estate. The vines are hand tended, from pruning through picking. The crop is severely regulated, with two green harvests in May and August, to maintain just the right amount of grapes on each vine, averaging 2 to 2.5 tons per acre. No insecticides or herbicides have been used in all these years, and we are now CCOF certified organic growers. – Winery

92 points Wine & Spirits Magazine
“Jerry Seps blends this to be the most approachable wine from his estate in the foothills of the Mayacamas. He pulls it off his northeast-facing hillsides, which consistently grow fragrant zinfandel that he shepherds toward a fresh and elegant style. His 2014 is cool, fat and juicy, a dynamic contrast of bright floral cherry notes and earthy savor. Decant it for roast eggplant stuffed with veal.”


Storybook Mountain 2013 'Estate Reserve' Zinfandel, Napa

Selected from the best barrels of the vintage, this wine takes complexity and depth to another dimension. We search primarily for flavor purity, focus, length and balance, to produce wines that can be described as multilayered, and marry power with finesse. While balance and fruit encourage early consumption, these same characteristics, coupled with depth and structure, provide the basics for the refined integration and silken complexity that comes to our Reserves after a decade or more.

94 points Connoisseurs' Guide
"Deeply fruited, wonderfully alive and layered with the polish that we have come to expect from this estate, this very vigorous young Zinfandel is as varietally precise as it is impeccably balanced. It is, as is typically the case with the best efforts from Storybook Mountain, a wine that begs for time in the cellar, and its remarkable stamina, its ongoing sense of composure and its unwavering focus add up to an eminently collectable offering that will impress more and more as the years pass. Please be in no hurry here."

91 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine
"This has more plush richness than the classic claret-style reserves that have made the reputation of Storybook. Yet it still has the brisk, floral freshness of zin grown at this northeast-facing hillside in the volcanic reaches of Mount St. Helena. There’s tension between the tart aspects of the fruit and the velvet-textured ripeness of its blackberry liqueur notes, enough to warrant cellaring the wine to see what it might become; or decant it for grilled lamb."





Turley Notes & Reviews

Turley 2016 'Duarte' Zinfandel, Contra Costa County

This wine is an homage to Joe Duarte, a prominent grape grower in Contra Costa who first introduced Turley to the incredible vineyards of the area. The wine is comprised of fruit from the turn-of-the-century Evangehlo, Mori and Salvador vineyards, planted between 1890 and 1930. As a result of the sandy soils and impressive age of the vines, the wine has some of the softest, silkiest tannins we’ve ever seen in a Zinfandel. – Winery

89-92 Points – Antonio Galloni,
"Turley's 2016 Zinfandel Duarte is a rich, deep wine, especially for an appellation in which the wines are often brighter in profile and more lifted in feel. Dark cherry, plum, menthol, licorice and lavender overtones add to the wine's dark, somewhat somber, feel. There is tremendous promise here. As always, the Duarte is a blend of fruit from four sites: Evangelho, Del Barba and Mori and a bit of Salvador."


Turley 2016 Mead Ranch Zinfandel, Atlas Peak, Napa

Mead Ranch is planted at about 1600 feet on Atlas Peak, on the south eastern side of Napa Valley. The vineyard was originally planted in the 1880s. though our block is primarily from the 1970s. This vineyard is head-trained, planted in red volcanic soil. On a clear day you can see San Francisco; though those are few and far between, and thus this vineyard sees plenty of fog from the bay. The wines are fragrant, with complex texture and great acidity. – Winery

90-93 Points – Antonio Galloni,
"From a site on Atlas Peak, the 2016 Zinfandel Mead Ranch exudes mountain character in its tannins and savory profile. Firm, pointed and articulate, the 2016 is long on personality. Orange peel, white pepper, sage, mint and crushed rocks give the Mead Ranch many of its distinctive flavor signatures. There is terrific aromatic complexity and nuance here."


Turley 2015 'Old Vines' Zinfandel, California

Old Vines is composed of a variety of old sites from California that are either too small to be made into a vineyard designate or are 'new' to the Turley family (and way of farming). Vines are anywhere from 41-129 years old, and a true representation of California old vine Zinfandel, hailing from vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lodi, Contra Costa, Amador and Paso Robles. – Winery

90 Points – Antonio Galloni,
"The 2015 Zinfandel Old Vines is a fabulous introduction to the Turley range. Succulent red cherry, plum, smoke, licorice, tobacco and menthol infuse this fleshy, succulent Zinfandel. All the elements are in the right place. This is an absolutely delicious wine, with plenty to recommend it, including its price."