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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Cline Cellars

Cline Cellars' 150-year-old farmhouse is surrounded by mineral warm springs. Image from the winery's home page.

Last year's rendition of this longtime value favorite, the low-end California bottling from usually reliable Cline, was a terrible disappointment; thin, simple, and lacking much in the way of obvious Zinfandel character. Accordingly, I was less than enthusiastic about even trying the 1996, until several online pals rang in with reports that it was back up to standard. I agree. Put this one back on the recommended list!

Cline 1996 California Zinfandel ($8.99)
Dark ruby color. Lovely mixed-berry scent, classic Zinfandel. Full, juicy berry fruit and zingy acidity offer a balanced flavor with just an edge of tannins and alcoholic warmth (13.5%) to give it weight and structure. Rates as a best buy, especially in these days of rising Zin prices. (Jan. 10, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Just right with a small sirloin sauced with a pan reduction of shallots and red wine with a touch of cream and Dijon mustard.

(For another good-value red from Cline, see last night's notes on the winery's 1996 "Cotes d'Oakley" Red.)

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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