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WOW - 2002 Cline Zinfandel California


Jean Brislance
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Hi all,

I was tagged to do the next WOW for the weeks of March 16 - 30. I am posting a little early, so I hope that is cool! :biggrin:

I did a quick study of some of the past WOW's, and I saw that there had not been a Zinfandel done yet, so I thought I would focus on that and try to find and inexpensive one that was widely available.

I am not sure if I would call myself a huge fan of Cline Cellars, but I have had a number of their reds over the years. I have found that they offer several wines at lower price points that are often very nice.

Their "California" designated wines can frequently be found for less than $10 (notably the Syrah and Zinfandel), and are usually very serviceable reds. For a few bucks more, I have also liked their "Ancient Vines" Mourvedre, as well as the Los Carneros Syrah.

Web site for Cline: http://www.clinecellars.com/

I chose the 2002 Cline Cellars Zinfandel California. In the past, this wine has been, in general, a very reliable, easy to find, and easy to drink, bargain Zin. In my opinion, the exception to this was the 2001 bottling, which I found chalky, astringent, and kind of watery; it was really lacking in flavor. So, when I saw the 2002, I was interested to see if there was an improvement, and I am happy to say there was. Here are my impressions:

2002 Cline Cellars Zinfandel California - A dark ruby-purple color, but quite clear. Nose is somewhat muted and delicate, with mixed wild berries, vanilla, dust, and peppery spice. The flavors are much brighter than the nose would indicate; jammy raspberry, a little bit of cherry, and a whole lot of spice. Very peppery on the palate. Texturally it is pretty smooth with light and fine tannins. Lighter bodied for a Zin, and the finish is somewhat short. There is a lot of spice on the finish, along with a trace of heat. It is not a profound or complex wine, and it is perhaps lacking in structure towards the finish. But, it has decent fruit and spice, and for a cheap pizza or party wine, this would fit the bill nicely. $8.99 at my local discount bottle shop.

All the best,

Jean

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WOW Zinfandel! Yeah!

Cline California Zinfandel, 2002. I tried this wine last night, admittedly with some reservations. I adore Cline Mourvedre but have been disappointed in their zinfandels. That didn't stop me from picking up TWO DIFFERENT Cline zinfandels for comparison's sake once this WOW was picked, but then I didn't open the other one.

I wish I'd tasted before reading your review, because it's difficult to know how much I might have been influenced, and now I'll come off as saying "me too" and "yabbut". But here goes:

Nose: muted and delicate, yes. I didn't get any vanilla, dust or pepper. I did get fruit; mixed berries sounds about right. Legs weaker than some I've seen, but they were there. I forgot to check the alcohol content, but based on the legs and the overall flavor/impact of the wine I'm guessing it's lower than the zin I was drinking last week - say, in the 13% or maybe 12% range. (How's that for hanging it out there? I'll look tonight and see how much I've made a fool of myself. :raz: ) Flavors were brighter than the nose would indicate, yes. Cherry, maybe. Jammy raspberry, I dunno. I didn't get any pepper or heat, but I did get some detectable zinfandel spice - not as much as my favorite zins carry, but it was pretty good. Pretty smooth, full mouth feel, a bit of tannin. Good body, with a little structure but not much, if I'm using those terms properly. I agree on the short finish, but what finish was there was nice.

Bottom line: if I wanted to show someone what the zinfandel fuss is all about, for my tastes, I wouldn't bother with this one. But if I wanted an inexpensive pleasant bottle of wine for a spicy food, this would be a good candidate.

Tonight I may crack open that other Cline zinfandel - next step up - and see how they compare. Or maybe I'll wait until this one is gone and then try the two side by side after they've been opened at the same time.

For those of you reading along, I just finished the eGCI course and am exercising my fledgling skills. I'd love comments if you see major gaffes here, or have insights on what else I could have been checking.

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I found the wine yesterday at my local Cost Plus on sale for $6.99 rather than $7.99. At that price I think it represents an excellent value. I didn't find it to be jammy or peppery per se but somewhere inbetween. This doesn't make it distiinctive but certainly it doesn' t take away either. I thought it had a good varietal tone, nice berry flavors with a moderate and pleasant finish.

I think at the price point, that if I wanted to introduce someone to Zinfandel and find one that would be pleasant, that this would e a good candidate. Just a straight-forward and pleasant wine.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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