||RP98 - The 1997 Zinfandel Black-Sears Vineyard (81-year old vines; 17% alcohol) is the finest Black-Sears Turley has yet produced. Flirting with perfection, it is one of the most extraordinary Zinfandels I have ever tasted. This vineyard, located high on Howell Mountain, in a wilderness area inhabited by mountain lions, bobcats, and wild pigs, has turned out a saturated black/purple-colored wine with fabulous aromas of creme de cassis, minerals, cold steel, Asian spices, violets, and licorice. The wine possesses unbelievable fruit richness, layers of extract and glycerin, phenomenal purity, and a 40+-second finish. Somehow, some way, the 17% alcohol has been concealed beneath the wine's extraordinary richness. This offering should drink beautifully for 7-8 years. As I have stated many times in the past, Turley Cellars' offerings have become the reference point for Zinfandel, as they are the most complex, concentrated, hedonistic wines ever produced from this varietal. Critics claim the alcohol levels are too high, but proprietor Larry Turley and his winemaker, Ehren Jordan, would argue that the alcohol levels are high only because they harvested fully ripe fruit. Turley and Jordan have also taken the art of wine making to a higher playing field. At the same time, they have resurrected a bevy of old head-pruned Zinfandel vineyards that had largely been ignored, or had their crops sold off to be unceremoniously blended into white Zinfandel. Turley Cellars' goal is to produce 10,000 cases of unfiltered, hand-crafted Zinfandel. As for the 1997 Zinfandels, Larry Turley feels they "are the best wines we have yet made." The wines are amazingly good, and as the following tasting notes suggest, readers could buy blind here and always end up with a juicy, complex, mouth filling Zinfandel.