Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre
Review By Eric Tansey, CSW
The Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre is a dark purple color with a blue-ish hue on the rim. Powerful aroma of strawberries. Ripe and unripe strawberries together. Seriously, the wine smells super ripe but not super jammy because there is a greener aroma coming through that the label calls eucalyptus, but that I call greenish, underripe strawberry. You can call it what you like, it is interesting nonetheless. There is also a little blueberry aroma going on that begs for repeated sniffs. This wine definitely gets an “A” for Aroma!
On the palate the Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre starts off as jammy but my palate was quickly assaulted by a variety of taste characteristics, making the wine strangely complex. This wine is a great wine to use to explain “complexity” and it shows a clear and present change from the front of the palate to the
mid-palate, and then on to the finish.
On the front of the palate the Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre brings ripe, jammy strawberry characteristics but the jammy-ness is quickly followed by intense black pepper. It reminds me of a bar of chili chocolate. The finish tones down the pepper, bringing back the big red fruit with the addition of vanilla. Now we come to the structure and balance of the Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre. The acidity of this wine is debatable. It was unexpected from such a jammy style of wine. This is the jammiest wine I have had that also holds an almost high level of acidity. This, to me, brought structure to the wine, differentiating it from just an ordinary jam fest. Some would say this is unbalanced and out of character. Medium plus acidity, supple tannins, jammy fruit, and high alcohol… You could call this wine crazy, I call it a crazy good time and I may even be crazy about this wine.
Tansey’s Blind Review – 93 points
Wine Selection – Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre
Producer – Cline Family Cellars
Style – Big and bold red wine
Varietals – Mourvedre
Region – Contra Costa County CA, USA
Alcohol – 15%
Farming Method – Sustainable Farming
Ancient Vine – 100-plus-year-old vines in the Oakley Vineyards
Oak – Toasted American Oak for eight months, then stored in neutral cooperage
Food Pairing – Lamb, duck confit, steak tartare, steak, ribs
I am giving Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre the Tansey’s Golden Jug award because it is a unique varietal with a unique take on a popular style, farmed with sustainable techniques, from a famous region, wrapped up with a great price point under $20 bucks!! Cheers to Cline !
What is Mourvedre?
Mourvedre, known as Monastrell in Spain, is a red grape varietal that produces dry red wines and sometimes fortified red wines. The grape varietal is native to Spain and is a major component in many Spanish and French wines. The vines are often grown in hot, dry climates and require a good bit of canopy management to produce the particular taste characteristics that the winemaker may be looking for. The vines are often bush vines, meaning they grow without a trellis and are close to the ground so that the grapes are shaded by the leaves. These wines are typically fuller bodied wines that are jammy and tannic, separating them from their counterpart, Zinfandel, which is usually jammy with lower tannin levels. Mourvedre is the “M” in GSM style wines (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) that are popular in the Rhone region of France and Paso Robles, California. Mourvedre/Monastrell is one of the primary red wine grape varieties in the Spainish DOs of Jumilla, Valencia, Alicante, Yeclam, and Almansa. It is also important in the production of wines in the Bandol, Cotes du Rhone, and Languedoc Roussillon regions of France.
What is Sustainable Farming?
Sustainable farming is a practice that puts an emphasis on the environment as a whole. The goal in using this technique is to leave the earth in better shape than before the vines were planted on it. Sustainable farming simply means, farming practices that will allow the land to be farmed without causing damage to the eco-system and the community around it while minimizing the carbon footprint, so that the environment in its entirety will be preserved or even improved. Eric Tansey, CSW, Somm1.
-From the Vineyard –
Tasting Notes & Pairings