Cline Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2018
USA / California
Andy's Tasting Notes
Old vine Zinfandel with lashings of rich, ripe summer fruits, coffee, 70% dark chocolate and creamy vanilla. Lots of bish, bash, bosh – but still very well behaved!
5% Petite Syrah
2% Alicante Bouschet
Production notes – “Our 2018 Ancient Vines Zinfandel draws primarily from a wide selection of our oldest, most historic and shyest-bearing Zinfandel blocks in Contra Costa County. These ancient, dry-farmed vineyards consistently produce fruit of stunning concentration.”
Grapes were harvested from a wide selection of Cline’s oldest, most historic and shyest-bearing
Zinfandel blocks in Contra Costa County. These ancient, dry-farmed vineyards consistently produce fruit of stunning concentration. Lots were harvested separately according to ripeness and balance of acidity. Grapes underwent near total destemming and a very gentle crushing to ensure a large proportion of whole berries in the must — contributing to the explosive fruit character of the wine. The grapes, juice, skins, and seeds along with some added yeasts were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at the optimum temperature to extract rich flavors and provide excellent colour. The wine was pressed off its skins at dryness and racked gently before being laid down on American oak (38% new) for 10 months.
Fred Cline learned a love for farming from his grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi at their ranch in Oakley. This area in Contra Costa County was a center for immigrants who planted some of the original grapevines. Fred set about restoring dry-farmed, head-pruned vines with roots that run deep in sandy soils. These rare vines, some well over a 100 years old, form the backbone for their Ancient Vines collection.
Price per bottle £16.75
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.
Cline is proud to be a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery. The program acknowledges a long-term commitment to continual improvement in the field of sustainable winegrowing and business practices, from grape to glass. It is located in Sonoma County, which is committed to becoming the first 100% sustainable wine region in the US by 2019.
Fred Cline and Bob Cannard founded Green String Farm and the Green String method of sustainable farming in 2003. Green String Farm is a 57 hectare natural process, sustainable farm near Petaluma, California. The Green String method meets the highest standard of environmental sustainability practices, which is different from certified organic. The methods reduce soil erosion, pesticide dependency, and loss of biodiversity; and increase resistance to natural predators.
In 2005, Cline was one of the first wineries to fully adopt solar energy. In 2018 it upgraded the original array with the latest technology, designed to offset 100% of its winery’s electrical consumption.
Instead of herbicides, Cline has 1,500 sheep and 500 goats that roam its vineyards, tasked with removing invasive weeds and instead of harmful pesticides, Cline provides owl boxes and raptor perches in the vineyard. These birds of prey are the predators of gophers and mice and help to maintain ecological control.
Cline composts and re-uses all digestible organic waste and materials from its winery, including 3,000 tons of grape pomace per year, prunings from trees and vines, plus chipped materials from the landscape. This waste is turned into a biological stimulant and food for the soils.Cline also grinds its own volcanic rock and then spreads the crushed cinder onto the soil. Having a wide spectrum of mineralogy, these cinders provide the vineyards with a complex array of nutrients and trace minerals, ensuring that the vines have all the necessary components to build fullness of character in the wine.