2017 Cline Los Carneros Syrah

2017 Cline Los Carneros Syrah

¥3,630 (incl. tax)

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Straddling southern Napa and Sonoma counties, Carneros features rolling hills planted largely to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. But the cool climate and clay soils turn out to be a fine terroir for Syrah. The estate features a foggy and windy hillside vineyard that ripens slowly over a long growing season, producing grapes with concentration and flavor. These conditions produce the wine’s awesome savory character of cracked black pepper and flavors of black cherry and chocolate that may remind one of the great Syrah wines of the Northern Rhone. Obvious pairings would include a juicy steak or spicy Moroccan Chicken, but thinking outside the box might lead one toward grilled salmon or sautéed vegetables served over pasta.


Winery Description

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.

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Los Carneros
Winery Cline
Vintage 2017
Color Red
Varietal(s) Syrah
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 9.0 x 29.5
Case Size 36.0 x 27.0 x 30.0
Alcohol 15.0%
Product Code CL17CSH
UPC 098652170028

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

Aromas are deep with dark berries, chocolate, black pepper and smoke. The palate offers rich flavor of boysenberries and licorice with accents of vanilla bean and coffee lasting well into the finish. Moderate tannins give the wine a smooth mouth feel.



Handpicked grapes were destemmed without crushing and fermented on native yeasts. As soon as the alcoholic fermentation was complete, the must was pressed and the wine moved to French oak for 12 month’s aging.

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