Wine Review | Cline Cellars | 2012 Viognier, North Coast

Wine Review | Cline Cellars | 2012 Viognier, North Coast

cline celars bottle

Cline Cellars 2012 Viognier

Before I get into the wine review, the history of how Cline Cellars came to be is worth noting.  Current vineyard owner Fred Cline’s maternal grandfather was Valeriano Jacuzzi.  If the name doesn’t ring a bell maybe just the name Jacuzzi does.  Yes, the hot tub/spa/whirlpool.  Fred’s grandfather and six brothers started out as machinists and then pump builders before they finally became synonymous with the whirlpool spa industry.

Fred graduated from U.C. Davies and in 1982 he started Cline Cellars.  Originally his operation was located near Oakley, then in 1991 he relocated to a 350 acre piece of land in Carneros

I recently received several wines for review from the Cline Cellars portfolio and of particular distinction was the 2012 Viognier. This wine was actually very nice.   And at a suggested retail price of only $12 it’s a real bargain.

Most of the grapes for this wine come from the Mendocino region.  This area is prone to cool coastal fog overnight and even into midday.  Ideal for this varietal.

What did I find particularly pleasant about this wine?  The wine is particularly weighty, if that makes sense.  I find most Viogniers to be pleasantly light, whereas this wine came in as a bit of a heavy weight.  And that is a good thing, because the alcohol content is 14%.  If there wasn’t enough deep, intense fruit the alcohol would have really been hot and unpleasant.  As it is now, the alcohol actually added a bit of ripeness to the mix.  The fruit is tropical in nature, with a pretty, flowery/rose like nose.

On the finish, the wine was ripe, rich and delicious.  The acidity is just right, just enough to create a slight zing to smooth and supple mouthfeel.

Weekly Wine Journal Rating: 95 points

Wine Review: Bonterra Vineyards 2007 Viognier – Organic

Bonterra Organic Wine


Price: $10.99 at Costco

Where from? : 65% Mendocino County, 35% Lake County

Certified Organically Grown Grapes

Alcohol: 13.64%

Blend:  Viognier 81%, Marsanne 10%, Roussane 4% and Muscat 5%

Aging: 4 months in 30% new French Oak.

Crisp and fairly light.  The nose was not really that present, very slight honeysuckle is really all I could pick up.  On the palate the dominant flavor is green apple with a little bit of peach, a very little bit.  I don’t know why, but I was expecting something different.  I suppose it’s because one of my favorite wines d’Arenberg’s Laughing Magpie is a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Viognier.  It must be quite a different Viognier because I can’t see how green apple would go with Shiraz?  I ended up not drinking much more than a glass of this wine on the first night.  It’s not the wine’s fault, I was having steak for dinner which calls for Cabernet.  But I did re-investigate Bonterra the next night while watching Olympic Hockey.  And actually I liked it a lot more.  I think I might have tried this one too close to the Grgich Hills Fume Blanc the day before.  As a stand alone wine it’s quite good.  Nice crisp green apple, virtually no oak, light.  Just a nice decent afternoon sipper.  With the added feel good bonus of having been made from Certified Organically Grown Grapes.  I would pick this up for summer parties as an alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.


Not the same old Holiday wine pairings

I am tired of the same old wine pairings for the traditional Christmas Dinner.  So this year I am looking to try something different.

Shiraz before dinner, Cabernet Sauvignon with Turkey Dinner and Muscat after dinner (which is probably not that unusual).  And for Christmas morning, at the suggestion of Tony from Yalumba, I will enjoy Viognier for breakfast!

The details:

Before I leave for work in the morning (around 7:30am) I will put a bottle of 2006 Marquis Phillips, Shiraz 9 in the decanter.  I’ve had it before, and it weighs in at 16% alcohol.  It is MASSIVE.  It’s not a fruit bomb either.  I brought it over to a friends for a dinner party and the quote of the evening from my friend who generally likes Pinot Noir: “This wine is hurting my mouth!” I laughed mercilessly at him.  I’m interested to see what 12 months has done to the wine.

I’ll probably get home from work around 3 in the afternoon, and by then that Shiraz 9 will be ready for conspicuous consumption.  I might have to share a little bit of it with the other Christmas dinner guests when they arrive at around 6pm.  I am choosing this wine because of its sheer intensity, but also, from what I remember last year, it tasted really good.  Sorry, I’m also a bit tired of the same old wine descriptions so I’m not going to elaborate on the taste in this post

At around 4pm I will open up the remaining two bottles of Chalone Vineyard Cabernet that I bought recently.  If you read my review of it, you’ll know that I recommended about 3 hours in the decanter for this wine to truly open up.

Christmas Dinner will consist of Turkey, ham, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, and probably something else.  It’s always a potluck dinner so I never know exactly what to expect. I will gorge myself on Christmas dinner and wine, and then for dessert I will open up a little bottle of Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat.  I pour myself a tiny glass and also drizzle this on Hagen Daz vanilla bean ice cream.  This wine tastes like strong black tea and sweet dried apricots.  It’s enough to leave you twitching in a diabetic coma by the end of the night. Yum!

Christmas morning I might be feeling a little rough, and so that’s when I will pop and pour some Yalumba Viognier, and have it with a toasted bagel and plain cream cheese.



Yalumba Museum Reserve

Chalone Vineyards Cabernet Review