Wine Advocate 95 points - Clinet has produced a blockbuster wine, even in the lighter, less consistent vintage of 2011. It reveals a dense purple color as well as an abundance of black cherry, black currant and blackberry fruit intermixed with licorice, incense and a touch of camphor. Full-bodied, opulent and fleshy with a substantial finish, this showy, dramatic 2011 should drink well for 15-20 years. Brilliant! (Apr 2014)
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The arrival of managing director Jean-Michel Arcaute in the early 1980s marked a real truning point in the wines of Clinet. Following the advice of his consultant, Michel Rolland, Jean-Michel introduced revolutionary changes to the status quo: green harvest, leaf thinning, delaying harvest until full physiological ripeness had been reached and reducing the percentage of Cabernets in favor of the more suitable Merlot, among other important modifications.
In the winery, the percentage of new French oak barrels was increased to reflect the greater concentration of the wine, as was the length of the elevage--from 13 months in 1970 to almost 24 months today, according to the characteristics of the vintage.
Respected American wine critic Robert Parker Jr. twice named Arcaute Winemaker of the Year, and bestowed the rare and coveted 100 point scre to Clinet's exceptional 1989 vintage.
As a child, Fred Cline used to visit his maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi ( founder of the famous spa company) at his home in Oakley, California, outside of Sacramento. Fred learned from his grandfather both the love of the agricultural life and the mysteries of the vinification of grapes into wine. These lessons led Fred to U.C. Davis to study agriculture management, a rebellious departure from the U.C. Berkeley tradition of his father and paternal grandfather.
After attaining his degree, in 1982 Fred returned to Oakley to found the company that would become Cline Cellars. There he started producing wines and restoring ancient vines. Today, Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvèdre produced from these vines are some of the most unique and historic wines made in California - the coming together of the climate, the soil and the landscape are the epitome of Oakley terroir.
In 1991, the winery relocated from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma County on a historic 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities. While much of the cool Carneros region is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, Fred Cline pioneered the planting of Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. In 1997, Cline ventured further west into an even cooler growing area in eastern Petaluma and again planted more Rhône varietals.
Once the site of a Miwok Village and then later the first camp of Father Altimira in his quest to establish the Sonoma Mission, the property offers sweeping views of the Carneros valley. The tasting room is located inside an original 1850's farmhouse, and is wrapped by a large and pleasant, old-fashioned porch for outdoor seating. Six spring-fed ponds, with lush green lawns, rustling willow trees, ever-changing gardens and the glorious, fragrant blossoms of over 5,000 rose bushes, surround the grounds.