Posted by: Ginny Prior | January 22, 2015

Sonoma: Wines and Vines Enlighten

img_0543By Audrey Chase

I can still feel the silky texture on my tongue as I savor the subtle notes of a liquid I barely understood. I’ve never been a wine connoisseur, but after my trip to Cline Cellars in Sonoma I now understand why some people choose this as their profession. I’ve always know that I prefer red to white when it comes to wine, but I never knew just how good it could be.

Nestled just off the freeway, Cline Cellars looks exactly like what you would imagine a winery to look like. Sprawling grounds, rows and rows of vineyards and huge vats of wine settled in their own room behind the main entrance. As I stepped into this room I was blasted with the frigid air that I normally associate with a florist. The Director of Winemaking, Charlie Tsegeletos explained that the wine is kept cool so the natural potassium and tartrates in wine does not produce crystals.

I was lucky and Tsegeletos let me try some of the wine right out of the vats. As I sampled everything from whites, to a rose to reds, I found myself making a distinction between wines that I had never made before. I was actually picking up on the notes and lingering flavors left on my tongue.

The fun continued and I was taken to a tasting room where I sampled another 7 wines at least. I was struck by the generosity and personable qualities of Tsegeletos. He was so easy to talk to and throughouly enjoyed being questioned about one of his passions. As we sat, sipped and talked, I found myself particularly taken with 3 wines.

The first, their 2013 Ancient Vines Zinfandel. It was unlike any red wine I had tasted before. Its smoothness in going down was a rare treat. Most of the other reds I’ve had were much bolder and pungent in their flavor; something to be sipped on occasion. The Ancient Vines Zinfandel was very silky and had a slightly sweet after-taste with the subtle hint of blackberry in the background. I could picture myself sipping it through an entire meal.

The second wine was a 2013 Ancient Vines Mourvedre. This wine too was extraordinarily smooth and its rich burgundy color immediately struck me. You could almost taste the “ancient” in the wine. Grown from vines over 100 years old, this wine was something to be savored. I definitely got some hints of plum and wish I’d had time to buy a bottle.

The third wine that struck me was the 2013 Red Cashmere. Again, this wine was exceptionally smooth and rich. The Cashmere is a mix of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. Although I cannot pretend to know what this means exactly, I know that it was delicious. Glimmers of cherry and plum danced on my tongue as I tried to distinguish all that this wine encompassed.

While I do not pretend to be a wine expert now, I do know that I am more enlightened having visited Cline Cellars. I went in open minded and just let myself “feel” as many elements of the wines as I could. As I sipped wine after wine I found myself reveling in the fact that I could indeed pick up on some of the subtitles and notes in the individual wines. The trip has made me appreciate wine all the more and I hope to return some day soon to try more of their amazing wines.


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