Cline 2000 "Oakley" California Vin Rouge ($7.99)
This affordable red table wine is made from a melange of Southern French grapes - Carignan, Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsaut and Alicante Bouschet - from 75- to 100-year-old vines dry-farmed on land near Oakley, Calif., about midway between the San Francisco Bay area and the agricultural Central Valley, a region that's not often mentioned in discussions of great wine. But the wine offers a lot of flavor for a low-end price: Dark ruby in color with purplish glints, it offers a burst of grapey fruit and earthy leather, ripe and fresh; so fruity that it seems sweet at first, but dries up and finishes unsweet and appropriately tart. The French name heralds its blend of grapes with their roots in the Rhone, Provence and Languedoc, and its bowl-of-fruit style offers a bow to Beaujolais; but soft, in-your-face fruit speaks of the New World. US Importer: (Dec 29, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with a meatless dinner crafted to match, a Euro-California blend of goat-cheese polenta topped with avocado and walnuts.



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