Monday, May 12, 2014

Cline, You Had Me At Cashmere

It is no secret that we like Cline Cellars wines.  Food friendly, fun crowd pleasers they are the convergence of quality and affordability.  One of the labels conveys it all with the appropriate luscious name, Cashmere. Ladies they are that mythical pair of heels that are both fabulous and comfortable.   We learned some more exciting things about Cline this week.

Cline Cellars Pinot Noir, Mourvedre Rose, Marsanne Roussanne
Cline Cellars Marsanne Roussanne, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre Rose

In addition to their fruity, sultry red wines, Cline offers a cool climate Pinot Noir, a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, and a rose of - wait for it - Mourvedre.

Cline Cellars grows their Pinot Noir in the Sonoma Coast appellation.  Cooling coastal winds in the Petaluma Gap area and fog cause grapes to ripen slowly and develop more complex flavors.  Expect a New World Pinot Noir with nuance and restraint.  Floral, cherries, spice, lightly toasted wood, soft tannin and a brightness that extends through a long finish define this wine.  There is no barnyard and no fruit bombs and less acidity and tannin than often found in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  The back label has a peel off recipe for Burnt Honey Gnocchi.  This is a versatile food wine and would be great with smoked pork or chicken. It is a steal at ~ $18 and is widely distributed.

Cline Cellars Bottle and Glass of Cool Climate Pinot Noir
Cline Cellars Cool Climate Pinot Noir - Great Red for Summer

Marsanne and Roussanne are both white grapes classically grown in the Rhone region in France. Marsanne is powerful, rich and has less acidity.  Roussanne is more complex and elegant.  They compliment each other in a blend and result in a wine that captures the best of each varietal.  We found lots of minerality in this blend; very fresh aromas of herbs and grass; strong acidity and more body than expected from an unoaked white.  Having just picked up our farm share, we made a salad overflowing with fresh vegetables, greens, and herbs.  Cline's Marsanne Roussanne is the perfect pairing for spring vegetables. Priced ~$22 this wine must be ordered online or purchased at the tasting room.

Photo and Veggie Credit to Pitchfork and Crow

We were most excited about the Mourvedre Rose and we do not want any questions about how quickly the bottle disappeared.  The Mourvedre grape is small with thick skins.  Cline grows their century old vines along the delta of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.  Here cool winds help grapes keep their bright acidity. A combination of low rainfall and old vines means fewer grapes are produced. So all of the fruity wonderful Mourvedre flavor becomes more concentrated.

Cline Cellars Mourvedre Rose with Azaleas
Cline Mourvedre Rose - As Pretty as a Flower

Think of Cline's rose not as a whisper of Mourvedre but as a softer melody.  Dry but fruity, this wine is packed with strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavors.  Floral notes, present throughout, really shine on the finish.  This wine pairs best with a glass and a thirsty drinker plus almost any dish - paella, spicy Asian foods, cheese, salad, seafood, bbq, etc. Widely distributed and ~$14 you can probably find it at your retailer, unless we get their first.

Cline Cellars winery is located in California's Carneros region.  When most people were planting cool climate grapes, Owner and Founder Fred Cline pioneered the planting of Rhone varietals.  Known for their quintessential California Zinfandels and Ancient Vine Mourvedre, Cline Cellars has also made a mark with Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne.

Cline farms the "Green String Way."  This is a sustainable farming practice that includes the use of cover crops, beneficial insects, and manages weeds with grazing sheep.  The only sprays used are organic sulphur dust and rock dust.  To learn more visit their website.

Do old vines really make a difference?  Find the answer plus more Cline Cellars reviews at Ancient Vine InCLINED.

Samples were provided by the winery and enjoyed by the wine writer.