Monday, March 30, 2009

Thus, with our debt to them so deep, all men should cry “Praise be for Sheep!”

A couple of weeks ago, the wooly weeders were out and about, munching on the delicious greens that grow between the vines. These beautiful sheep and lambs come to the property to help trim back our winter overgrowth. In a matter of days, what was once a wild field is now a picturesque and trim vineyard.

Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders is an open range sheep herding company. This environment friendly mowing is perfect for Cline and Jacuzzi. After all, we work hard at keeping our land sustainable and following the Green String Institute’s methods of farming.

These sweet little lambs are East Friesian, and will go on to provide milk to local cheese makers. While they are devouring the grass, they also help to fertilize the ground. If we all left the land in as good of condition as these little guys, the whole world would be Green String approved.

Ancient Vines, Old Vines, It’s all Greek to me

by Charlie Tsegeletos, Director of Winemaking

The phrase “old” or “ancient” vines is tossed around a lot in the wine world. Here at Cline Cellars, we adhere to a strict guideline that directs us in carefully choosing which vineyard to use. This is what "Ancient" means to us:

First, the average age of all the vines must be at least 50 years old. This is easy for our Cline AV Carignane program. These grapes come exclusively from two vineyards that were planted in 1906 and 1925 in Oakley, California. The Cline AV Mourvèdre also comes from two old Oakley vineyards, which were planted in 1920. The Cline AV Zinfandel comes from several exquisite Lodi, Contra Costa County and Mendocino County vineyards. The two oldest vineyards are Cline Estate Contra Costa Zinfandel vineyards that were planted in 1906 and 1910.

The second criterion is that the vines produce intense and flavorful grapes. We pick these grapes at about 26 degrees brix (the dissolved sugar-to-water mass ratio of a liquid), which turns into about 15% alcohol. While we want our AV series to have big and bold body, it is important to us that the flavor must balance with the wine.

Lastly, most of the grapes that go into the AV program are head-trained and spur-pruned. Our farming methods ensure that the grapes get ample sunlight, good ventilation and little water. Many are not irrigated; that allows the vine to focus on ripening the grapes, deepening the color and adding flavor, rather than growing foliage. The only downside to this is that the yield is often very low - at or below 4 tons per acre.

To sum it all up, to be a part of our AV program, the vineyard must be at least 50 years old, produce intense but balanced grapes and be properly farmed. All of these rules help to ensure that our Ancient Vines Carignane, Mourvèdre, and Zinfandel are as delicious as they can be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Looking for the perfect ending to your special dinner on Valentine’s Day? We have just the wine for you and your sweetie! To help celebrate this special day we are offering our 375 ml Late Harvest Mourvèdre at 30% off (list price $32.00, club price $22.40). With hints of chocolate and berries, this wine will pair wonderfully with desserts of all kinds.

If wine isn’t temptation enough, how about joining us on February 14th and 15th for the Olive Festival? We will have complimentary samples from the Olive Press, Carneros Cave Cheese, and wonderful chocolates from The Truffle Gateau, which pairs beautifully with our Late Harvest Mourvèdre!

Stop by the winery to make your purchase or call 707-940-4043 or email us at the This sale will end on February 28th.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

During the holiday season, people get together to celebrate traditions and to create new ones. Loved ones gather under one roof to appreciate the bountiful blessings bestowed throughout the year.

A holiday meal represents the love and affection shared between friends and family. Wine, the drink of the soul, can elevate a humble recipe to a holiday memory. Family food traditions and recipes will vary greatly. With that in mind, here are some suggestions:

Hors d'oeuvres with Oakley 5 Reds

Hors d’oeuvres, or appetizers, are meant to excite the palate and prepare you for the impending dinner, and the wine should do the same. Oakley 5 Reds is a smooth blend of Merlot, Alicante Bouschet, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese and Zinfandel. Flavors of blackberries, black pepper and spicy berries make this wine an excellent accompaniment to finger foods and starter dishes.

Fish with Viognier

This lovely little white is perfect to partner with fish’s rich and buttery texture. Sparkling with a bright acidity and lush with a voluptuous mouth-feel of apricots and honey, Viognier is a pairing fit for Poseidon.

Turkey with Rosé

It’s best to choose a Rosé on the dry side, such as our Mourvèdre Rosé. This refreshing wine is a wonderful tradition of rosés found in France, Spain, Australia and South Africa, and when served slightly chilled is perfect with warm Turkey.

Tofu with Cashmere

For the vegetarians in your family, tofu is an easy substitution for Christmas dinner. Since tofu tends to absorb spices and sauces easily, wine pairing is challenging but not impossible. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre (GSM) is a soft, delicate red wine that plays with tofu’s velvety texture.

Ham with Pinot Gris

Christmas ham is a tradition that predates medieval times. Our Pinot Gris has crisp acidity that is met with floral characteristics that will compliment ham’s often sweet and salty flavors.

Roast Beef with Zinfandel

Zinfandel is naturally a fruit forward and exotic grape that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Beef is a great match for Zin because both offer the diner something juicy and spicy. Cline is currently selling five different types of Zinfandels, one of which will certainly pair with your great-grandmother’s secret recipe.

Lamb with Syrah

Lamb and Syrah are both integral to Australian culture, but that’s not what makes the two pair so perfectly together. Syrah is a bold and meaty wine, rich with an earthy dark texture that needs an equally robust meal to tame its wild ways. Considering that lamb is often served with mint jelly, either our Los Carneros Syrah or Cool Climate Syrah, both having minty top notes, will make the meal remarkable.

Dessert with Late Harvest Mourvèdre

Sugary foods were traditionally reserved for special occasions and holidays, and while desserts have become far more readily available now than they were in the 19th century, that doesn’t make their place on the Christmas table any less important. An after dinner wine, like our Late Harvest Mourvèdre, will sweeten and sooth the soul, whether paired with your favorite tart or sipped slowly on its own by a roaring fire.