As we begin a new year, I’ve been thinking about my passions. What do I truly love? What do I truly enjoy? It’s those things that I feel I can bring to you with the most enthusiasm and authenticity. Upon examining the world of my favorite things, one quickly bubbled to the top: wine.
I love my wine. It’s my probably my biggest indulgence. And not just because I’m now a mom. My passion for wine has developed over many years. A semester in Italy sparked my initial interest, living in Santa Barbara and taking wine classes in college (perks of going to UCSB) only helped it grow. And my love of wine and fascination with the entire wine making process has only intensified since moving a stone’s throw from California wine country. I visit Napa and Sonoma as often as I can, have joined more wine clubs than I’d like to admit and drink wine…pretty much every day of the week. True story. It’s good for you thought right?
In all seriousness, I’ve blogged about wine in the past (like here, here, here and here), but I thought it might be fun to start a series dedicated to what I’m drinking right now. Because I know one of the hardest things about wine is figuring out what the heck to try in the first place. Everyone wants to drink “good wine,” but what does that even mean?
Some wines are daily drinkers. Some are best savored on very special occasions. And then there are those that fall somewhere in the middle. I’m hoping to bring you options across the entire spectrum, but I’m kicking off this Wine Wednesday series with a newly discovered wine and the winery that goes with it. It always helps when I love the winery as much as I love the wine.
Turnbull Wine Cellars is just one such place.
Turnball Winery is tucked in the heart of Napa, but if you blink while driving up Hwy 29, you might miss it. Surrounded by some pretty ostentatious neighbors, Turnbull is an unassuming space that maintains a welcoming, old-school winery feel. Family owned and operated, everything happens at the original barn-like structure built in 1979. And while it may appear understated, the property actually comes with quite the design pedigree. The winery was designed by famed architect William Turnbull, Jr., whose architectural style can be spotted throughout California, the Sea Ranch community on the Northern California coast being one of his most famous. When the O’Dell family bought the winery in 1993, they kept the name Turnbull in William’s honor.
Today, Turnbull is run by daughter Zoe Johns. A former retail buyer and director of merchandising, Zoe has a great eye. She brought a cool, modern perspective to the entire Turnbull environment. I shouldn’t be surprised – you can sneak a peek at Zoe’s own San Francisco home on D*S from a few years back – it’s dang good.
Today, Turnbull’s private tasting room is modeled after Zoe’s childhood living room, the tasting gallery holds the country’s largest private collection of Ansel Adams photography and the outdoor space features beautiful gardens, a wood-fired pizza oven, bocce court and an edible pairing garden with a fire pit. It really is a beautiful place to drink away an afternoon.
But let’s get down to the important stuff – the wine! Turnbull is well known for incredibly fine wines. In fact, two wines have garnered a perfect 100 points and 14 wines have been rated at 95 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. But again, what does that actually mean? On our visit to Turnbull we sampled a bit everything, but what caught my attention is their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is smooth, silky and complex. If you read its description you’ll see phrases like bright Rainier cherries, fall spice and grain tea tannins. But again, what does that actually mean? Really it means very little. You don’t have to know esoteric descriptions to decide if you like a wine. You know if you relish every sip. You know if you intentionally take your time to enjoy your glass. I find the harder time I have describing a wine, the more I like it. Because it’s not straightforward. It’s not one note. It brought brings you back wanting more.
Now the Turnbull 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t one of those wines you bust open on any random Tuesday. This is definitely one of the bottles you want to invest in and take your time to enjoy. But it is definitely well worth it.
I hope you enjoyed our first Wine Wednesday post. If there are any wines you’re currently loving, please share in the comments! I’m always looking to add to my collection.