Three Wine Company’s Mendocino Brut is a classic Methode Traditionnelle sparkling wine. It consists of 68% Chardonnay and 32% Pinot Noir from the 2015 vintage. The fruit was sourced from several vineyards in Mendocino County, fermented separately in stainless steel tanks before being assembled into the blend, which included 4.5% from the 2014 vintage for added complexity. As with all classic method sparkling wines, secondary fermentation inside the bottle produces the bubbles while sur lie aging yields the creamy texture and complex flavors. The winery notes, “vivid crisp Gala apple with hints of pear and lemon lead to fresh toasted bread for an elegant dry finish.” An excellent value! Highly recommended for the holidays!
Matt and Erin Cline, the owners and proprietors of the Three Wine Company maintain a philosophy about wine, namely, that it can be reduced to just three vital elements: dirt, microclimate and sustainable wine-growing. By sourcing fruit from old vineyards in Contra Costa, Napa and Sonoma counties and by working closely with the growers who own them, they not only supply quality wine to customers but help preserve a unique aspect of California’s agricultural heritage.
If Matt Cline is a name that rings familiar to Hotei customers, it should! The younger brother of Fred Cline, Matt studied entomology at UC Berkeley and then enology at UC Davis and went on to become Cline Cellars’ winemaker from 1985 to 2001. But from the start, Matt was involved in much more than just making Cline wines. In fact, he played a large role in discovering and helping to preserve the old vineyards that produced the fruit for some of Cline’s top wines. When Fred Cline established the winery in Oakley (in Contra Costa, along the San Joaquin River delta), it was Matt who made handshake deals with the Spinelli, Evangelho and Lucchesi families who owned such plots known as Bridgehead and Big Break. Planted by Italian and Portuguese immigrant farmers as long ago as the 1890s, the Zinfandel, Mataro (Mourvedre) and Carignan vines had managed to survive such crises as phylloxera and prohibition. Rooted in well-drained, sandy soils and farmed without irrigation, these ancient vines yielded little quantity but offered character that isn’t found in the fruit of younger vines. By recognizing the potential for these low-yielding vineyards in an unrecognized region to produce fine wine, Matt Cline managed to save them from succumbing to the next real crisis: the sprawling East Bay suburbs that were reaching northern Contra Costa County.
In the 2000s, Matt Cline moved on from the Cline family business to found other ventures, such as Trinitas, which he sold in 2006, a brand of late harvest Riesling called S3x (small, sweet sips), and eventually the Three Wine Company. In all his ventures, he has sought out old vineyards and encouraged their owners to adopt sustainable farming and nourish these historic plots to good health.
Three Wine Company is located in Clarksdale, California and makes wine from not only the same Contra Costa vineyards that Matt has worked with for over three decades, but heritage vineyards in the Russian River and Napa valleys as well. While some of Three’s wines are single varietals, Matt prefers the magic that occurs by blending Zin, Mourvedre, Carignan, and Cinsault, which he believes is both more historically accurate and sustainable.
|Varietal(s)||68% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir|
|Bottle Size||9.0 x 32.0|
|Case Size||40.5 x 26.0 x 31.0|
69% Chardonnay and 32% Pinot Noir was fermented separately in stainless steel. After blending, the wine was bottled for secondary fermenation and sur lie aging.