Log In / Join Now

exploring wine with tim fish

Ehren Jordan Departs Turley Wine Cellars

The longtime Turley winemaker will focus on his own winery, Failla
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Feb 27, 2013 11:00am ET

Zinfandel lovers won't be happy to hear that winemaker Ehren Jordan has left Turley Wine Cellars after 18 years, but if you've followed Jordan and the impressive work he has done at his own winery, Failla, it should come as no surprise.

"Most people think Helen is still making the wine anyway," Jordan laughed, referring to Turley's short-tenured first winemaker, Helen Turley, the sister of owner Larry Turley.

In the past two decades, Jordan and Larry Turley together crafted what I think are some of California's most impressive and iconic Zinfandels. You'll find Turley wines on the best restaurant wine lists in the country. They are full-flavored, powerful yet refined, and express the distinctive character of Zin and the classic old vineyards from which they come, like Hayne in Napa Valley, Ueberroth in Paso Robles and Dogtown in Lodi.

Jordan, who was also Turley's general manager, said the decision to leave wasn't easy, but it was something he had considered for some time. Jordan and his wife, Anne-Marie Failla, launched Failla in 1998 and focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. The brand has grown enough, and considering the surprisingly large size of the 2012 crop, Jordan said, "It was obvious that Failla is a full-time job."

The timing was also right. Jordan's winemaking team at Turley is well-seasoned, and his right-hand man, Tegan Passalacqua, has been doing much of the heavy lifting for a while. Christina Turley, the eldest of Larry's three daughters, made a name for herself as wine director for star chef David Chang's Momofuku restaurants in New York. Since moving back to California two years ago, the 28-year-old has taken on many of the marketing and business duties.

Jordan and Turley remain friends. "I told him if he needs me, I'm only a phone call away."

Dustin Gillson
Dayton, OH —  February 27, 2013 2:32pm ET
I will keep an open mind, but the wines from both Turley and Failla are brilliant. I only hope that as Failla approaches super-stardom, Ehren maintains the reasonable pricing structure and great QPR that I appreciate from both wineries. Maybe Ehren will add a few Zins and/or Petite Sirahs to the Failla lineup? :)

Turley has long been a large counter-point to the "Zinfandels as simplistic fruit-bombs" crowd, and I hope they maintain that tradition.
Jeff Ames
Napa, Ca —  February 27, 2013 5:45pm ET
Tegan will do a great job. They are in very good hands.

Jeff Ames
Ryan Pease
Paso Robles, CA —  February 28, 2013 10:39am ET
...and don't forget the very talented Karl Wicka who makes all the Turley wines that are grown in Paso Robles.
Troy Nelson
Arvada, Colorado —  March 3, 2013 5:12pm ET
I look forward to the change.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.