2016 Cline "Farmhouse" White


Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay may seem ubiquitous in Northern California’s wine industry, but it wasn’t always that way. Seeing the old vineyards near his grandfather’s ranch in Oakley, California, Fred Cline learned that wine growers 100 years ago preferred Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mataro (Mourvedre) and Carignan – often planted together in one vineyard as a “field blend.” Because this pattern is found in old vineyards throughout the state, it must have been a conscious choice among winegrowers back then. They must have understood that Zin and the Rhone varieties perform better under California’s dry but variable conditions than the finicky, slow-ripening Cabernet. These vines can thrive without irrigation (a.k.a. “dry-farming”) and the blending of grapes with different qualities would have ensured that the finished wine attained a proper balance of sugar, acid, ripeness and tannin. In order to pursue his interest in Zinfandel, Rhone grape varieties and old vineyards, Fred Cline founded Cline Cellars near Oakley in 1981. The Ancient Vines bottlings are made from grapes grown in these low-yielding, Contra Costa County vineyards. In 1991, Cline moved his winemaking facility to a large ranch in Carneros, the cool, wind-swept district just north of San Pablo Bay between Napa and Sonoma counties. Even though Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate the vineyards here, Cline decided to plant Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane and has proven that even in a cool climate these varietals can develop intense but elegant fruit and perfume. A more recent acquisition lies near Petaluma, in Sonoma County, and Cline Cellars has now added Pinot Noir to its roster of Zinfandel and Rhone reds and whites. A focus on Zinfandel and Rhone varietal wines has not always been easy, but Cline Cellars has repeatedly earned accolades and critical acclaim. Over the years, many of the Zinfandels and others have earned 90 points and up in the Wine Spectator, and Wine & Spirits has called the Ancient Vines Mourvèdre “one of the top 100 values.” It doesn’t get much better than this: hand-crafted wines from sustainably-farmed vineyards that are intimately connected to California’s winemaking history. The wines of Cline Cellars are deep and rich with elegance, complexity and flavor AND available at reasonable prices.


In 1982, Fred Cline established his winery near Oakley, California, a region in northern Contra Costa County that runs along the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. In Oakley’s sandy soils and cool climate, he found an excellent location to pursue his vision of an estate focused on the less well-known grape varieties of the Rhone Valley. “Farmhouse” recalls the wine produced by immigrant farmers in Oakley in the early 20th century. In 2016, the blend consists of 62% Palomino, 27% Viognier and 11% Muscat Canelli. Lower in alcohol (13%) than in previous years, it’s a crisp, bright wine that delivers great value for the price. Farmhouse White pairs well with appetizers such as ripe tomatoes and mozzarella, salads with extra-virgin olive oil, Asian cuisine and fish dishes.


Following cold-temperature fermentation in stainless steel without undergoing malolactic fermentation, the wine was lightly filtered to preserve the fruit flavors and varietal characteristics.

Tasting notes

Aromatic and lively, the wine offiers bright, crisp flavors of grapefruit, lime and peach with a fresh, clean finish. Crisp acidity helps the wine pair well with tomato appetizers or lightly-spiced chicken or fish dishes




62% Palomino, 27% Viognier, 11% Muscat Canelli




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