Cline Cellars Tasting

Yesterday I was able to sit down with the regional rep for Cline Cellars. Now, a lot of people know Cline because of red blend called Cashmere. Cashmere has kind of been the iconic Cline wine in this area of Louisiana over the last couple of year. It’s a blend of mainly Mourvedre(53%), Syrah(25%), and Grenache(23%). Cashmere is so named because of how silky, smooth it is. It absolutely lives up to the name. It also is a wine with a cause. Fred and Nancy Cline have donated over $270,000 to breast cancer research and have an active partnership with Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Since I’ve sold Cashmere for years, I was looking forward to tasting some of the other wines I’d never had. I was very pleasantly surprise at their drinkability and value.

ClineLineup

First off, lets take Rosé. It’s made from Mourvedre and is part of their “Ancient Vines” series because the vines have been producing fruit for 80-100 years. Super impressive for it’s price point. It has balance to the extreme. Beautiful acid structure complemented with fresh strawberry. This little ditty definitely falls into the Patio Pounder category. For around $10, it’s tough to beat.

Cline also makes a pretty tasty Pinot Noir as well as a Chardonnay. The grapes for both are Estate Grown in Sonoma. Which means Cline actually grows and maintains the grapes on land they own. They aren’t buying their grapes from another winery. Aaand fun fact: La Crema sourced their Sonoma Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit from Cline until very recently. So that means that if you dig on La Crema Chard or Pinot, you should try Cline’s. 

The Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a crisp one. No oak or butter bomb. Light vanilla and baking spice paired with that golden apple flavor. It’s kinda Cali Chard 101. A good, everyday value for a Cali Chard drinker priced around $12.

ClinePNPinot Noir. Every one loves it so every one wants to grow it. Unfortunately, not every one does a good job of it. That’s not the case here. Cline’s Pinot Noir really delivers for under $15. It’s got all the things I love about Pinot without punching me in the throat. Cola, cherry, and a hint of smokey bacon fat(yeah, I said it) with a silky pajama pants finish. Definitely my favorite of the group.

Fun fact: La Crema used to source their Sonoma Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit from Cline. So that means that if you dig on La Crema Chard or Pinot, you should try Cline’s.

Give me shout if you’re into or have questions about these wines.

Wine Review: 2012 Bonny Doon ‘Contra’

Randall_Book1Bonny Doon’s wine maker Randall Grahm is an all around California Wine OG. In 1989 he was dubbed “The Rhone Ranger” by Wine Spectator because of his mastery of those varietals, types of grapes, normally grown in the Cote Du Rhone of France(Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre to name a few). That spark started a big fire. Because of that, there is actually a group of around 200 wine makers in Cali that are called “The Rhone Rangers” and they are committed to the cause of growing and producing those varietals exclusively. He is also a James Beard Award winning author in 1994 as well as was inducted to the The Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Needless to say, he knows(and makes) great wine.

Bonny Doon Contra

Today, we are tasting his red blend “Contra.” Some red blends will tell you how much of which grape is in it. Here’s the breakdown: 56% Carignane(Care-in-yahn), 17% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 1% Cinsault(Sin-so). All are Rhone varietals. Those crazy Rhone Rangers.

I’ll break it down into 2 sections: Nose and palate. The nose is obviously the delightful aromas that are going to flood your nostrils and the palate is going to be what you actually taste.

Nose: This wine has huge aromatics. Right after I opened it, there was a ton of smoked meat/bacon, tangy dark cherries and white pepper fighting for attention.

Palate: The depth in this juice is pretty crazy. Right off the bat, that cherry flavor is present and accounted for. It’s followed up by a little brininess(think black olive. Don’t freak out about that, it works beautifully) and a long, juicy finish that has just little hints of cedar after you finish your sip(or gulp). Body wise, it’s definitely not over weight and needing to hit the treadmill. It’s got some sexy curves that could stand up to a rib eye steak or even venison.

After about 30 minutes, flavors evolved to dark cocoa and light cinnamon spiciness.

The next day, if you had any left over, super bold fruit had taken over the spiciness and toned down that cocoa flavor.

Definitely pick this wine up. Great stuff at $17 a bottle and something that can stand up over a day or two. If you are interested in buying it in the Shreveport-Bossier area, email at beardandbarrel@gmail.com and I’ll get you taken care of.