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Sonoma Bottles of Wine at Cline Still Deliver (with a twist)

Winemaking regions in California have different personalities. Sonoma can be drier than more southerly climates. We visited one of our old favorites, Cline Family Cellars of Sonoma (south of Napa) last August.

On a recent visit our $25 tasting seemed a bit high (they’ll waive the fee with a two bottle purchase) but that’s because we chafe at the increases to taste California bottles of wine. Our wine host felt the price was at the low end of Sonoma and Napa. But such is the nature of wine tastings these days.

We visited Cline hoping to taste their Ancient Vine Carignan, one of our favorites in the past. It’s difficult to find this wine in retail outlets. But alas, no open bottles this day. Instead we enjoyed some very nice wines along with some eclectic wines. We’re still trying to figure out who might like their Delta Sands Zinfandel with its powerful eucalyptus nose and palate. It’s grown in the East Delta, likely in the shadow of a eucalyptus grove. While everybody has their own likes and dislikes this taste wasn’t for us.

Our tasting included:

2020 Grenache Gris $30 ✰+/✰

2020 Catapult Ranch Chardonnay (neutral oak & stainless) $35 ✰

2019 Estate Viognier (a light dry version of this wine) $22 ✰+/✰

2020 Mourvedre rose (eucalyptus nose and palate) $21 ✰

2020 Fog Swept Pinot Noir (the cherry front with a raspberry finish) $36 ✰

2020 Ancient Vines Zinfandel (40th anniversary wine, less dry) ✰+

2019 Delta Sands Zinfandel (Eucalyptus and Boysenberry) $35 ✰

2020 Cashmere Red $26 ✰

2019 Cashmere Black $26 ✰+/✰

2019 J. Poppe Syrah (dry nose and palate with a big berry taste) $41 ✰+

We purchased two bottles of the Cashmere Black and two bottles of their 40th Anniversary Ancient Vines Zinfandel.

Temperatures at our end of August visit were warm but their gardens, tables and umbrellas made it a pleasant respite. While driving to the winery before noon it was a simple trip. But as we drove out Highway 116 at 2:30 in the afternoon we could see at least a mile and a half back up of traffic leading into the area. We’ve heard this criticism of Napa recently and were surprised to see it in Sonoma.


Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.