Cline Cellars ‘Live Oak’ Zinfandel

Cline Cellars ‘Live Oak’ Zinfandel

This single vineyard wine is a classic expression of Old Vine Zinfandel 


Country, Region
USA California
Food friend
Chilli con carne

Additional Details

Tasting Notes

Concentrated and complex flavours of sweet fresh berries, dried figs and prunes with roasted coffee and liquorice. Well balanced with good acidity which balances the ample body and alcohol. It finishes with good length and smooth, silky tannins. This is a big wine which maintains surprising elegance alongside its obvious charms.

Producer details

Cline Cellars is a family owned vineyard and winery with 460 hectares under vine in Contra Costa County and Sonoma County, California. Established in 1982 by Fred Cline, a descendant of Italian US settlers, he originally founded the winery in Oakley, cultivating Rhône varieties and Zinfandel on vines dating back to 1906. In the 1990s, the family moved their winemaking operation to a 250 acre ranch in Carneros Valley, adopting sustainable farming in 2000, and building the largest solar panelled winery in California. Whilst others in California were focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the '80s, Fred Cline saw the potential of select Rhône varieties and Zinfandel in his vineyards.

In the vineyard

Live Oak vineyard is named after Live Oak Road in Oakley. The vineyards run adjacent to this road and consistently produce some of Cline's most complex, concentrated and unique lots of Zinfandel. Cline Cellars has chosen to dry-farm the ancient, head pruned vines, a practice employed by the Italian and Portuguese immigrants who planted this vineyard well before the turn of the century. The Oakley terroir is characterised by the hot sun, sandy soil, and a unique band of air that flows from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, producing a stunning and concentrated Zinfandel.

In the winery

The grapes from the Live Oak Vineyard were harvested at high natural sugar levels and treated gently in the cellar to emphasize the explosive fruit characteristic of the block. The fruit was almost entirely de-stemmed and lightly crushed, with a large proportion of whole berries remaining in the must. Fermentation occurred at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks, using a selection of cultured yeasts. After eight days of gentle pump-overs and near dryness, they drained and pressed the wine from its skins. The Live Oak Zinfandel was minimally handled before being put down to barrel. The wine was aged for 15 months in 40% new, medium toasted, French oak barrels

Food Recommendations

This Zinfandel pairs particularly well with robust, heavy foods like rare prime rib, roasted pork tenderloin and chilli con carne. Grilled lamb, bolognaise and blue cheese would also work exceptionally well.

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