2017 Cline Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris


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.


Like the Pinot Gris of Alsace, Cline’s Pinot Gris delivers freshness and elegance along with pure and fresh stone fruit and citrus flavors. In the Sonoma Coast region, temperatures remain cool for most of the summer as the sun tends to burn off the ocean fog for just a few hours in the afternoons. But vineyards in this climate produce grapes with intense fruit flavors and bright acidity as well as minerality picked up from the diverse clay and rocky soils. For maximum freshness and pure fruit flavors, Cline makes this wine entirely in stainless steel - without oak barrel aging. Pour a glass while making dinner or serve with lighter fare such as quiche or fish with tarragon-butter sauce.


Handpicked grapes are de-stemmed and pressed gently; then the juice is allowed to settle for twenty-four hours before being racked to a fermenting tank. Low temperature fermentation in stainless steel preserves the natural flavors and freshness of the grapes.

Tasting notes

88 point (2016) – Wine Enthusiast. Aromas of peach, apricot, apple and pear greet the nose while exquisite orange and tangerine flavors delight the palate. Fresh fruit, bright acidity, medium weight and palpable texture suggest serving this wine with quiche, grilled fish or lobster.


Sonoma Coast


Pinot Gris




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