Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: *** $ Cline Zinfandel, California, 2005

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Original Tasting and Review, February, 2010:

By way of background: Cline Zinfandel from California is an inexpensive zinfandel made of grapes taken from various vineyards across California. The 2005 vintage is finished at 14% alcohol.  The label says "Drink now or hold... it will continue to develop complexity over the next three to four years." So we've now given this five years from vintage date, let's see what we've got...

In the glass: Cline Zinfandel shows as deep burgundy red in the glass, no orange or brick colors coming in yet to indicate age.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this American zinfandel still has a bit of funkified helium on the nose, meaning it probably needs even a bit more air.  Let's give it some... waiting... waiting... swirling... waiting... Finally, with some vigorous shaking in a partially filled bottle, we were able to discharge most of this off-aroma.

What we get in its place is a ripe, purple berry, along with hints of violets, oak and vegetable stew. 

On the palate: The first element on the palate is smooth, sweet, cinnamon-laced ripe mid-palate fruit - a combination of mashed ripe plums plus ripe red cherries.  Softer notes of oak are apparent too, as the mostly fruit-based flavors travel across your mouth.

And the wrap-up: The finish is carried along on a sweet note, finishing clean with the higher alcohol up-lift, but no cloying sweetness nor really much in the way of tannic oomph.

In summary: Overall, pleasant, rich, uncomplicated new world red wine experience at a value price. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  A best value when obtained at a sale price, and when - as this one was - given some time in the bottle.

Following a two-day decant under vacuum in a partially-filled bottle:  Nose and palate have held fairly consistent.  Palate moving to a bit over-drawn however.  So no further decanting advised.

Updated review, a year and a half later, October, 2011:  Deep red in the glass, a hint of brick coming through at the edges now.  Soft red fruit on the nose, hint of vegetable broth, maybe even a pleasant hint of Play-Doh.  Soft, rich fruit on the palate, a bit mushy but still with enough lift to be energizing.  Remains a best value, even now at six years from vintage date.

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