Wine Tasting Notes, 2009: Turnbull Cellars, Oakville

If 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 [… read more …]

Napa's Top 25 Wine Tours

Outside Quixote (left) and outside Schramsberg (right).

These types of lists are always debatable — if not questionable — because you have to wonder about the author’s credentials. Who really comes up with these lists, and much do they know about anything? It’s a fair question. Lots of travel writers have come to the Napa Valley and covered the wine scene, and there are plenty of opinions about all kinds of wineries.

My own perspective is uniquely local. I’ve lived in Napa for over 10 years and have spent most of that time as a professional chef (at the moment, I work as a chef-instructor at a local cooking school). Over the years, I have taken breaks from restaurant life to work as a wine educator. I spent a year at Grgich Hills pouring wine, and I spent three years at Nickel & Nickel hosting tours and tastings.

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