Here's a wine that the family-owned Cline Cellars is famous for. Ancient Vines Zinfandel draws primarily from a wide selection of the oldest, most historic and shyest-bearing Zinfandel blocks in Contra Costa County. These grapes were planted by Italian and Portuguese immigrants in the sandy, phylloxera-resistant soils of Oakley, California more than 100 years ago. These ancient, dry-farmed vineyards consistently produce fruit of stunning concentration and are the result of sensitive farming practices and the singular Oakley terroir. There's a unique cooling band of air that flows from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. The lots are all hand-selected and the grapes underwent near total de-stemming and a very gentle crushing to ensure a large percentage of whole berries in the must — contributing to the explosive fruit character of the wine. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at the optimum temperature to extract rich flavors and provide excellent color. The wines were aged in American oak cooperage for 7 months, approximately 35% new oak. It shows notes of strawberry, coffee and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate has ripe fruit and soft tannins with savory spice notes as well as hints of toasty vanilla. It's mouth-filling and bold with a lingering finish. An ideal match for grilled meats and other hearty fare.
Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines due to its spice notes. It goes well with a range of foods from pasta to chicken to steak. I found the Cline 2014 Zinfandel to have both a wonderful fruitiness and a nice toasty oak flavor. By day two, however, while the berry flavors were still there, the enjoyable oak had disappeared. So you will enjoy this wine best the day it's opened. For the price, I can't think of a tastier zinfandel.