Cline Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Sonoma’s Carneros Valley. Established in 1982 by Fred Cline, a descendant of Italian US settlers, he originally founded the winery in Oakley, Contra Costa County, cultivating Rhone varieties and Zinfandel on vines dating back to 1906.
In the 1990s, the family moved their winemaking operation to a 350 acre ranch in Carneros Valley, adopting sustainable farming in 2000, and building the largest solar panelled winery in California. While others in California were focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Fred Cline saw the potential of Rhône varieties and Zinfandel in his vineyards and continues to produce focussed, terroir-driven wines.
When selecting fruit for Lodi Zinfandel, Cline focus primarily on harmony, early drinkability and elegant structure. This vintage draws from 14 superb Zinfandel vineyards in the legendary area of Lodi where warm days and cool nights have ripened grapes to perfection for over 100 years.
The grapes were de-stemmed and lightly crushed to preserve fruit and limit harsh tannin extraction. A moderately warm fermentation in closed stainless steel tanks using specific wine yeast came next. Once desired tannin levels were achieved, the wine was racked two or even three times before aging in wood for eight month. This achieves early elegance without sacrificing bright fruit. They used 35% new French oak with a medium toast level, which contributes a delicate toasty vanilla character to the wine without masking the abundant fruit.
Showing a wide array of ripe almost sweet berry fruit including black cherry and strawberry. The ripe palate shows more berry fruit, as well as dark spice notes such as Chinese five spice, star anise and clove. The finish has gentle supple tannins.
This wine will pair very well with either classic roasted or sticky Asian style belly pork or with any spicy stew or chowder.