Turning Leaf Vineyards 2007 Reserve merlot (California)

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on January 26, 2010:

Pope JP 2 used to whip himself with a belt, even on vacation, to bring him closer to perfection is the admission of a forthcoming book, “Why He’s a Saint” to advocate his sainthood. Somebody tell that numbnut there’s 53 already-Saints somewhere in N’Orleans who will be getting a Peyton Manning-whippin’ in a couple Sundays, so it never ends for them zealots. An Appleton, WI woman was arrested for planting a microwaved-rat in her lunch at an upscale restaurant. She tried to extort half a mil from the owners, who don’t have a microwave in the restaurant. Is this why the folks at Dusted Valley Vintners chose to vinify here in Washington State? Good choice, if so. Good ol’ Holiday Innnnn…in London, they’re trying human bed warmers in order to help their guests get to sleep. The fine print is that it’s not the warming that gets the guests to sleep, but the bedwarmers’ passing of gas while under the sheets!

Turning Leaf…a Gallo outpost. Do I really need to say anymore? Ok, I have to at least attempt to be unbiased and give this a fair shot that this is a, uh, a decent California merlot. Gallo…that and Bartyles and James and Paul Masson, we were best friends in my younger, underage daze (sic). How funny to be reunited so many years later…well, actually not so funny for a semi-serious wine reviewer like me. The boo-birds have been crying foul lately with the plethora of 88+ ratings I’ve been dishing out like half-priced cocktails at the dinner hour. Listen pals, my scale is 0-100. I’ve rated a wine zero recently and am not afraid to spear more offal sitting on the shelves where any consumer can quickly part with hard-earned cash. A decent wine in my book will score at least an 80. Anything above 85 is worth putting on the table. And, quite honestly, the best deals can be found around 88-90. That’s for you number chasers.

What I have a serious problem with are the ones who reviewed this wine before me. “Good balance…lively acidity (wtf??)…another year might help this (yeah…become cooking vinegar)…grade: B- (what public school did you go to??).” “72/100…a decent smell…doesn’t taste bad.”

And lastly, to those stupid wine awards competitions… the 2008 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition gave the 2006 vintage a GOLD medal. I kid you not.

Another bad deal is the recent article (props to Sean for the Twitter post) on “The Collapse of Cabernet” in the Napa Valley Register. I guess I’m supposed to be thankful I only burned six bucks for this 4x187mL pack at QFC versus a colon-cleansing $30 bottle that is an over-oaked, fruit-absent high-alcohol thunderbomb like so many me-too’s coming out of California’s current oversaturated wine industry. This is EXACTLY what is wrong with California’s wines today when they actually try to make a varietally-correct wine at a decent alcohol level and with some semblance of varietally-correct fruit flavors and it costs the equivalent of $7 a bottle. And you wonder why Charles Shaw is the number one seller out of California? This is a stern warning to Washington State. It’s nice to grow bigger but trying to catch California will require “selling-out”. Is that worth the price to be paid for a back-row spot on center-stage in the wine world? Is this more of a business of profit than an artist’s expression of the land?

As for food, I gave it more than it deserved: tuna roll from Taka Sushi, chicken teriyaki, kal-bi, and beef stew. N-n-n-n-n-no.

Color: purple-black (good merlots show some red, not look like a syrah). Nose: turpentine, varnish, blackberry spit. Mouthfeel: cool, volatile. Tail trail: 1 second. Flavors: blackberry, some plum on the back and then it’s gone.

Music pairing: William Hung’s “I Believe I Can Fly“–I kid you not, I’ve been listening to his entire album while typing this; my dinner literally FELL OUT OF MY MOUTH when it started playing…haaaaAALLLLPPP! Alcohol: 13.5%. Rated: 65. Value: go buy Welch’s instead. Paid: $7. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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2 Responses to Turning Leaf Vineyards 2007 Reserve merlot (California)

  1. Charlotte Boyer says:

    Can you please refer us to a vendor that sells your Turning Leaf wine in the Puyallup, Wa. 98374 area.

  2. wawineman says:


    Turning Leaf wines should be at any of the local chain supermarkets such as Safeway, QFC, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, and Top Food & Drug. They tend to cluster around the boxed wine/ 4-bottle-pack wine section in the wine aisles.

    Thanks for reading and the comment!

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