2020 Cline "Old Vine" Lodi Zinfandel

2020 Cline

¥2,530 (incl. tax)

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Lodi may be less familiar than Sonoma County or Napa Valley, but this laid-back district east of the Bay Area has been producing wine since the 1850s. Responsible for over 40% of California’s premium Zin, Lodi is the true Zinfandel Capital of the World. Zinfandel thrives in Lodi’s summer climate of hot days and cool nights. And because of the unique sandy soils, vines in the older vineyards escaped being ravaged by phylloxera and remain planted on their own vinifera roots. The grapes for this rich and complex red wine come from several vineyards planted in the 1940s and 1960s in the Mokelumne River AVA, one of Lodi’s seven sub-AVAs. By carefully selecting and blending the fruit, Cline produces a lush and juicy Zin in which fruit, acidity and tannin are in excellent balance. The rich berry flavors and smooth structure suggest excellent pairing with bold-flavored foods such as penne putanesca, grilled meats or chili con carne. 


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) Lodi (Inland Valleys)
Winery Cline
Vintage 2020
Color Red
Varietal(s) Zinfandel
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.0 x 30.0
Case Size 33.5 x 26.0 x 30.5
Alcohol 14.5%
Product Code CL20CZ
UPC 098652350024

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

Aromas of cherries and strawberries with a notes of spice and vanilla lead to a juicy palate of black cherry, raspberry and chocolate. The wine is full-bodied and nicely textured with supple tannins and moderate acidity providing a firm structure.



Grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed prior to fermentation in stainless steel on prepared wine yeast. After racking two or three times, the wine aged 12 months in wood barrels (35% new French oak).

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