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Turnbull Wine Cellars
I have to admit that the first time I went to Turnbull Wine Cellars it was not solely because of their reputation as a maker of fine wines – I went for a photography exhibit. This was perhaps two decades ago and, while I continue to return for the photography on display, I also look forward to sampling their wines with great anticipation.
Drawing from a collection of 4,000 photographs, the winery mounts two exhibitions a year – spring and fall. The works include such luminaries as Yousuf Karsh, Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Horst, Brett Weston, Man Ray, and Eugene Atget. The current exhibit is titled “Modernism – Photography After 1930.” By the 1930s‚ modern photography was recognized as a legitimate and unique art form. The increased use of photography in newspapers, magazines, fine art gallery exhibitions, plus improved photographic reproduction and the public funding of Depression-era photographers, all helped to popularize modern photography and the rapidly-changing modern world to a larger, and more diverse, viewing audience.
The photographs are displayed in the winery’s two tasting rooms. The first being the regular tasting room with its high, sloping wood ceiling, skylights and French doors opening onto one of the many mature gardens on the property. The second is the Reserve Room, where photographs are on every wall between the oak barrels that fill most of the room. It is a seamless blend of two crafts: winemaking and art.
The excellent wines they make include two whites. The first is a bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, the other a California version of the European varietal, Viognier.
Turnbull is best known for their reds, including the classic French varietals Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Syrah and Petite Sirah. The Reserve Cabs bear names such as Amoenus, Fortuna and Leopoldina.
One wine that always interests me is named Old Bull. I’ll let them describe it: “The wine blends the power and richness of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with the bold fruit of Syrah and the enticing lighthearted fruit of Merlot. This artful blend achieves amazing complexity and decadent richness while detailing the great vineyard sites and viticultural work that is at the core of all Turnbull wines.”
Turnbull Wine Cellars is located at 8210 St. Helena Highway (Highway 29), Oakville between Yountville and St. Helena and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. You can contact them at 1-800-887-6285 or on the Internet at www.turnbullwines.com, which also has information on exhibits and their popular Wine Club.
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