This is a shout out for what I (and many) consider an “American classic” – Lodi Old World Zinfandel from Cline Cellars.
Zinfandel is the perfect California grape that reflects the spirit of the Old West. If you’ve ever visited Lodi, California, you might see men wearing actual cowboy hats and boots – most of the winemakers even seem to speak with that Old West twang.
Another reason that Cline Cellars Old Vine is an American classic is that it is still family owned, a rarity in this era of industrial sized wineries. The winery is also sustainable, so you can feel good drinking it.
Finally, trying Cline Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel is a “thumbs up” of support for America’s own grape varieties, and also a “show of love” for single varietal wines, where you can really taste the personality of an individual grape instead of a blend.
Zinfandel is grown in various areas of California. The cool thing about Lodi, however, is that wines are typically very old and the area has a reputation as the unofficial “Zinfandel Capital of the World.”
Here in Lodi, the vines are head trained, so when you see the vines they are planted very low in the deep sandy soil. The age of the vines also results in more concentration of rich jammy fruit in the wine.
The Cline Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel specifically comes from the Mokelumme River AVA, known as the historical center of the Lodi wine growing region.
When I tasted this wine, I was struck by the intense aromatics and rich concentration of jammy ripe fruit, along with the delicious zing of cinnamon and toasty oak from barrel aging.
It’s a rich substantial wine that pairs well with food like braised beef. Enjoy.
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