Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pinot Noir That's Tough, Elegant

In the 1970s, an Italian immigrant in California’s Bay Area taught his grandson how to make wine. Fred Cline took the information and ran with it, starting a winery and eventually moving the operation to Sonoma County's Carneros Valley.

Cline Cellars now has sustainably-grown ancient Zinfandel and Rhone varieties in Oakley, more Rhone grapes in Carneros and Pinot Noir in the Petaluma Gap.  Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos produces wines that, according to Cline, "express the unique qualities of California fruit, and their specific sense of place."

Baseball fans may want to know that Cline partners with Wines by Design on a San Francisco Giants Pinot Gris. It’s sourced from the winery's Sonoma Coast estate vineyard, and they say it’s a "hit."

Cline Estate Pinot Noir 2015

The wine was aged for seven months in new, medium toast French oak barrels and clocks alcohol at 14% abv. It retails for just $15.

The nose of this medium-dark wine is beautiful, all ripe and red, with notes of vanilla and tobacco woven into the fruit. A high minty element makes things interesting. On the palate, it walks the tightrope between elegant and muscular. The alcohol is somewhat restrained and the acidity is refreshing. There is some brawn there, but it stops just short of being the kind of California Pinot that tries to masquerade as Syrah.

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