Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Cline Cellars 2005 Ancient Vines Carignane  (Contra Costa County)

Cline Cellars

2005 Ancient Vines Carignane
(Contra Costa County)

Carignan, or “kerrigan” as local old timer growers call it, is most often thought to have originated from the town of Carineña near Priorat, Spain. Often used as a blending grape in the wines of the southern Rhone and Languedoc Roussillon, it is rarely the main attraction. On its own, it occasionally manifests itself with an unfortunate combination of high acidity and green underripe flavors. In the white sandy soil of Contra Costa County, in Oakley in particular, the old vines produce a world class, benchmark example under the expert care of the Cline family, heirs to the Jacuzzi fortune (Fred Cline's maternal grandfather was Valeriano Jacuzzi).

Crystalline blue-rimmed magenta, this unctuous, feral wine has aromas of strawberry, raspberry, earth, and underbrush. On the palate the wine is full bodied, gamey, plummy, chewy, gently oaked, and somewhat rustic, with intoxicating notes of animale, sauvage, and sea air. Electrifying currents of lemon/lime acidity give balance and brighten up the long, clean finish. This is not a wine for the first date. Enjoy with fellow wine geeks and one exquisitely ripe wheel of triple cream cheese such as Explorateur with garlic-rubbed toast points and chopped fruity olives.

Reviewed January 14, 2007 by Catherine Fallis.

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The Wine

Winery: Cline Cellars
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Ancient Vines Carignane
Appellation: Contra Costa County
Grape: Carignane
Price: 750ml $16.00

Review Date: 1/14/2007

The Reviewer

Catherine Fallis

Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.