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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Turley Estate Zin Is Perfect For Driveway Pizza Party With Neighbors

Turley Estate Zinfandel 2015, Napa ($40)

Even in this time of social distancing you don’t have to be alone. I have been amazed at how many ways we social animals have found to be together with other people.

From Zoom to FaceTime to Go To Meeting we have found many ways to be together electronically. It may not be as good as meeting in person where you can hug, but at least there is some human interaction.

This week we engaged in another way of getting together: a driveway pizza party.

Our next door neighbors, who have two small children, had done it the week before with our across the street neighbors, who also have small children. This week they invited Teri and me to join them. There also was another family from across the street.

It also was Walt’s birthday so he and his family only joined us intermittently. They had a small family gathering in their back yard. So we all got to see each other and talk to each other. The key was staying at least 6 feet apart (or 12 feet, depending on whose guideline you’re using). The hardest part was keeping the children away from other children, but the parents did a great job with that.

So we pulled our folding chairs and tables to the end of the driveway, ate, drank and talked to each other, just like in the good old days of a few weeks ago. We had pizza from Giuseppe’s, Day and Ben had pizza from Papa John’s and the neighbors on the other side of the street had takeout from the Village Deli.

Turley Estate vines in the northern Napa Valley.

Ben had a beer and Day had a margarita. Teri and I brought out one of our favorite wines, a Turley Estate Zinfandel 2015. It’s a rich, powerful wine that gets a little mellow with a little age on it. I would have offered to share the wine, but I’m not sure that complies with the social distancing mandate. I love to share Turley wines with my friends, because everyone loves them. I have never seen someone taste a Turley and not like it.

The Estate Zin was terrific, full of bold fruit flavors, such as black cherry, raspberry and some spices. The grapes come from head-trained dry-farmed vines that surround Turley’s home and winery. Some were planted in 2006 and some in 1996. All are certified organic.

I interviewed Larry Turley in late January this year for a piece I’m writing for The Augusta Chronicle, and he is as delightful as his wines. He grew up in Augusta and started medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. He later worked as an emergency room doctor before he started making wine. He maintains his medical license but is better known for making great old-vine zinfandels that are difficult to find.

The Estate Zin I had at the driveway party perfectly matched the spicy sausage and tomato pizza I was eating.

One of the nice things about the driveway pizza party is everyone could have whatever they wanted to eat and drink.

Larry Turley prunes vines earlier this year.

Meanwhile, we were entertained watching Pierce and Lillian and their non-stop energy. They rode scooters and did tricks on the them, including turning them into skateboards. (Pierce is hoping to get a skateboard, but I’m not sure his mom and dad are convinced yet.) They also ran and laughed and played like children are supposed to do while the adults worry about when this is all going to end. Pierce even drove his pedaled go-kart up to the table to get some drive-thru pizza.

All of us are more fortunate than many folks. Ben and Day continue working from home. Teri and I are retired, so life hasn’t changed much except for the lack of face-to-face contact. But we all have food, everyone’s healthy and we’re trying to do the responsible thing by staying home.

But who’s to say you can’ have a little fun while you’re quarantined?

We sat and talked and shared what’s going on in our lives. I didn’t really want it to end, but when the sun started going down, we packed up and headed inside. I hope we do it again.

From: Napa
Cost: $40
Year: 2015

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