It’s thought the Romans took Viognier to the Rhône 1700 years ago yet incredibly, as recently as the 1980’s, there were thought to be only 32 ha planted in the entire world. Now, Viognier, with its fullbodied richness and gentle acidity is an international superstar again. Fred Cline specialises in growing Rhône cultivars and giving them a modern twist whilst maintaining their original character… and this one is a beauty!
Cline Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Sonoma’s Carneros Valley. Established in 1982 by Fred Cline, a descendant of Italian US settlers, he originally founded the winery in Oakley, Contra Costa County, cultivating Rhône varieties and Zinfandel on vines dating back to 1906.
Viognier is a tricky grape to grow in that it buds out early and is susceptible to frost. Also, it’s thick skins require patience to get the full flavour potential of the grape. The vines basked in the sun during the day and were cooled at night which contributes to this Viognier’s full-body weight and nice acidity.
The grapes were handpicked and de-stemmed without being crushed then immediately pumped to the tank press where the juice was gently squeezed from the grapes. Juice was pumped to a stainless steel fermenting tank and the wine was chilled and settled overnight. The juice was then racked off the grape solids and inoculated with a pure strain of wine yeast. Fermentation proceeded at a cool 50 degrees F to preserve the lovely fruit character and kept in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.
Wonderfully fragrant with notes of pithy stone fruits, bight jasmine and honeysuckle. The palate follows through with a richness of fruit including ripe peach and apricot. The finish is given finesse by the refreshing acidity.
Pairs well with Gruyere or Camembert cheese, sushi, or tarragon chicken.