Wine Tasting Notes, 2009: Turnbull Cellars, Oakville

2004turnbullIf times are as difficult as people say, then Turnbull Wine Cellars should be on everyone’s short list of wineries to visit this year. Not only does the winery offer a terrific 2005 Napa Cabernet at just $45 per bottle, but its 2006 Old Bull Red, priced at just $20 per bottle, will prove to be an unbeatable “barbecue” wine this summer. I buy a fair amount of both of these wines annually, since I can always count on Turnbull Cellars for a price-to-value ratio that is almost unmatched anywhere here in the Napa Valley.

The 2005 Turnbull Cabernet has tremendous fruit with fantastic balance — enough to make you wonder how other wineries can charge $100 or more for wines that lack such grace and elegance. Of course, Turnbull also offers its own version of $100 Cabernet, which is their 2005 Black Label, a Bordeaux blend that features a wonderful depth of flavor, but with the same soft tannins as its less expensive counterpart. The 2005 Turnbull Black Label is comprised primarily of Cabernet, although the wine is augmented with a particularly heavy dose of Petit Verdot, which pushes the blend towards darker, fleshier fruits.

The 2006 Old Bull Red has a burst of strawberry on the nose and a light, yet pleasant finish. I’m going to be frank: at the $20 level, this is all I can reasonably hope for. The Old Bull is a blend of 13 different varietals, although Merlot composes the base of the wine. The 2006 Old Bull is clearly a catch-all, with additions of Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Cab, Cab Franc, Barbera and Syrah. With its engaging aromatics, I wouldn’t be surprised it a little of the Turnbull Viognier also found its way into the mix.

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