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Cline Live Oak Vineyard Zinfandel 2017 £27.95
CLINE LIVE OAK VINEYARD ZINFANDEL
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.
The vineyards run adjacent to this road and consistently produce some of Cline's most complex, concentrated and unique lots of Zinfandel. Cline Cellars has chosen to dry-farm the ancient, head-pruned vines, a practice employed by the Italian and Portuguese immigrants who planted this vineyard well before the turn of the century. The Oakley terroir is characterized by the hot sun, sandy soil, and a unique band of air that flows from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, producing a stunning and concentrated Zinfandel. The grapes from the Live Oak Vineyard were harvested at high natural sugar levels and treated gently in the cellar to emphasize the explosive fruit characteristic of the block. The fruit was almost entirely de-stemmed and lightly crushed, with a large proportion of whole berries remaining in the must. Fermentation occurred at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks, using a selection of cultured yeasts. After eight days of gentle "pump-overs" and near dryness, they drained and pressed the wine from its skins. The Live Oak Zinfandel was minimally handled before being put down to the barrel. The wine was aged for 8 months in 40% new, medium toasted, French oak barrels.
Concentrated and complex flavours of sweet fresh berries, dried figs and prunes, roasted coffee and liquorice. Well balanced with good acidity which balances the ample body and alcohol. It finishes with good length and smooth, silky tannins. This is a big wine which maintains surprising elegance alongside its obvious charms.
This Zinfandel pairs particularly well with robust, heavy foods like rare prime rib, roasted pork tenderloin, and chilli con carne. Also grilled lamb shank with grilled winter vegetables, pasta bolognese, and blue cheese.