Cline Late Harvest Mourvedre 2016  £18.95

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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 Rhône 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.

Big Break vineyard was chosen for this Late Harvest Mourvèdre. It's planted in deep sand-soil, is dry-farmed, and benefits from the drying winds that blow through Contra Costa County. The vineyard carried a light crop of grapes that ripened and dehydrated to a high sugar content. When the grapes arrived at the winery, the lot was 25% raisined. Working with ultra-ripe raisiny fruit to make this delicious wine had its challenges. The must began to ferment after three days in the tank, with a natural yeast fermentation, contributing to the complexity of the blend. Fermentation progressed and in a matter of three weeks the combination of alcohol and sugar caused the fermentation to draw to a close. The wine was racked to 30% new French oak barrels allowing the fruit flavours to show through without being masked by the oak.

This wine is luxuriously sweet and divinely tempting. Layers of coffee, chocolate, black berries and prunes dominate but they are beautifully balanced with a firm structure of acid and fine grained tannins. It is a wonderful accompaniment to rich chocolatey desserts like chocolate mousse, brie with mango chutney, or salted caramel chocolate squares.


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