2005 Cline Live Oak Zinfandel Contra Costa County, CA
Zinfandels fall into two general categories: smooth and fruity, almost sweet, or big and spicy, with light tannins. The 2005 Cline Live Oak Zinfandel is the latter, a strong red wine tailor-made for barbecue, steak au poivre, and spicy elk or venison stew. This beauty is powerful, with black cherry, dark oak, a hint of eucalyptus and the characteristic black pepper on the finish. The finish makes the wine, with chewy tannins and a little acidity to perk up the flavors.Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos ages the Live Oak Zin for 11 months in 40 percent new French oak barrels, giving the wine its lovely dark and rich oak and smoke notes. Zinfandel, with its dark berry and black pepper flavors, tends to age well in new oak, the smoky and earthy components melding with the wine instead of overpowering it.Fred Cline founded Cline Cellars in 1982, after studying at UC-Davis, the United States foremost college for wine studies. Cline specializes in Rhone-style wines and single-vineyard Zinfandels. The winery is in Carneros, in the southern part of Sonoma County. The Live Oak Zinfandel is from a vineyard in Contra Costa County, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. The vines range in age from 80 to 120 years old. Jarrett Osborn | Riverwalk Wine & Spirits
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