Wine Reviews: Robert Turner Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-01-2016

IMG_20160924_160447740_HDRRobert Turner Wines were new to me until I tasted these four, but this small producer is behind some really tasty vino.

In 1997, proprietor Bob Turner began buying grapes from Napa and Sonoma and crafting wines à la garagiste — by making the wines in his San Francisco garage. Bob, a dentist-turned-winemaker who studied at UC Davis, outgrew his modest cellar, so in 2005 the operation expanded into Stoney Springs Winery, north of St. Helena, and Robert Turner Wines officially began.

It’s still a small affair (about 500 cases per vintage), and the portfolio is relatively focused. Nothing crazy: a Grenache rose, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Dutton Ranch in the Russian River Valley, and a Cabernet Franc from a site near the winery. Fellow dentist-turned-winemaker Dave Earnest (who also worked as a pilot) has been assistant winemaker since 2014.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2015 Robert Turner Grenache Mosaic Rosé - California, Central Valley, Yolo County
SRP: $21
Light strawberry color. Bright apples and crunchy white cherries with rose petals and some green garden and herbs. A zesty appeal for sure, this has tart white cherries, grapefruit pith and watermelon  — vibrant and crisp but some honeyed texture and tropical flower notes keep it juicy. White pepper, nettle and oregano notes. Tasty stuff from Yolo a site near Davis. (87 points IJB)

2013 Robert Turner Chardonnay Dutton Ranch - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $36
Light gold color. Smells of buttered bread, almonds and honeycomb on top of juicy green and yellow apples and pears. Full-bodied but lively acidity and a velvety, slightly waxy mouthfeel. Almonds, honeycomb and cinnamon play nicely off of tart green apples, apricots and bruised pears. Delicious mix of fruit and the richness is balanced by freshness and notes of flower shop and chalk. (90 points IJB)

2013 Robert Turner Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $44
Medium ruby color. Nose of tart cherries, raspberry jam, sage and sweet pipe tobacco notes and a warm clay and earthy note. Tart red fruit on the palate but some fresh, farmer’s market style jam raspberries in here (some rhubarb pie and crunchy strawberries). A fleshy medium-plus-bodied wine but it’s lip-smacking throughout. Good tannic backbone but so crunchy and fresh from the acidity. Earthy, rhubarb, white pepper, roses, yet some warm tea and roasted nut notes. Delicious but could definitely use some time to open up or a few in the cellar. (90 points IJB)

2013 Robert Turner Cabernet Franc Stoney Springs Vineyard - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $48
Deep ruby color. Smoky black cherries, tart black currants, along with rose petals and mint and pepper and earth. The aromas open up wonderfully with air. Full-bodied with moderately structured tannins and the fruit shows density but a refreshing tartness. Black cherry and currant mix with rose petals, spicy tobacco, pepper and dark chocolate. This is a very young Cab Franc, but it’s structured and balanced so well that it can be consumed young or cellared for at least 5 years. (90+ points IJB)

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