In 1982 Fred Cline founded Cline Family Cellars in Oakley, California (Contra Costa County). On the property they had 100 year-old vines of Mourvedre, Carignane and Zinfandel. He worked hard at restoring these old vines. The vineyard is dry-farmed, head-pruned, and roots run deep in the sand soils.

They moved to Sonoma County in 1989, purchasing a horse farm in Carneros. Here they expanded and planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot, while still keeping their property in Oakley. Today Cline Family Cellars is a multi-generational winery with Fred and Nancy’s children guiding the operations.

To celebrate 40 years, Cline released their 2020 Ancient Vines Zinfandel, made from their oldest and historic Zinfandel plots in Contra Costa County. The grapes were destemmed and crushed gently to ensure that there were large portions of whole berries in the must. It is these whole berries that contribute to the explosive fruit character of the wine. The wine was aged in French oak for 15 months before blending and bottling.

Tasting Notes: On the aroma, I got cigar box, rhubarb, strawberry, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.

The palate was smooth and balanced with a nice tannin structure. Flavors of raspberry, dark fruit, plum and a hint of licorice followed by a zing of black pepper on the finish.

Food Pairings: This wine will go great with the grill this summer. Ribs, burgers, k-bobs, pulled pork, and duck.

Cheers! Happy 40th Cline Family Cellars.