8210 Saint Helena Highway, Oakville, California 94562.

         by Liane and Sergio Sismondo

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On the St. Helena Highway, just north of the Oakville Crossroad, on the east side of the road, is Turnbull Wine Cellars.

Drive in and visit Turnbull's tasting room, which is not only a place to find great wines, but to find fine art. It is decorated with a part of an important photographic art collection. The collection may be seen in full by appointment. At the time of writing Turnbull is having a Special Event, a showing of Ansel Adams in Black and White. This exhibit contains over 65 original photographs from America's premier fine art photographer.

The Visitor Center is among the finest we have seen, with attention to all imaginable details. It is a comfortable room with extremely attractive decoration; a perfect match for the extremely fine wines which are offered there. Liz Lease is the manager of the Visitor Center and tasting room. Under her supervision, the tasting experience is well worthwhile. We highly recommend a visit to Turnbull Wine Cellars during your stay in Napa Valley.

The winemaker is Jon Engelskirger, who is earning many credits, awards and accolades for his fine wines. Wine expert Merrill Hearnsberger, courteous and very informative, is one of the staffed "tour guides" through the wine tastings.

The wonderful wines are from the Estate Vineyards. Patrick O'Dell, Turnbull's owner since 1993, has increased holdings from 21 acres to 185 acres in Oakville. The various vineyards offer different soils and micro-climates for the production of excellent varietals.


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We tasted a range of wines, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, and several interesting blends. All the wines were excellent and we rated all the wines in the high 80s and 90s.

Cabernet-Sauvignon, Estate, 2004 93
Merlot, Estate, 2004 90
Old Bull Red, Estate, 2005 89 (1)
Sangiovese "Torosor" Estate, 2004 89 (2)
Sauvignon Blanc, White Label, Estate, 2005 89
Syrah, Estate, 2003 89
Viognier, Estate, 2005 90

(1) Old Bull Red 2005 was made with a blend of six varietals: 70% Merlot, 11% Tempranillo, 7% Petite Sirah, 5% Syrah, 4% Sangiovese, and 3% Barbera.

(2) Toroso 2004 was made with a blend of three varietals: 92% Sangiovese, 5% Petite Verdot, and 3% Sagrantino.

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Our choice for best red wine tasted in 2007 at Turnbull Wine Cellars is the Cabernet-Sauvignon, of 2004, priced at $45, and which received our rating of 93. Cabernet-Sauvignon is described as the "flagship wine" of this vineyard. We also found the Turnbull Viognier of 2005 to be particularly pleasant, with rich fruity flavours, and a long finish. Were looking forward to Turnbull's new releases.

You need not wait for a visit to Napa and Turnbull Wine Cellars to start enjoying some of these excellent wines. If you are fortunate to live in a state where the winery is allowed to ship, you could look forward to four shipments a year of two bottles of specially selected wines. Other advantages include complimentary wine tasting for you and a guest at the Tasting Room, 20% savings on wine purchases, a "members only" newsletter -- The Bullhorn -- and invitations to special events and private parties at the winery. More information, including states to which Turnbull can ship wine, can be seen at www.turnbullwines.com