Questions or comments on our new mobile-responsive site? Tell us here.
Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Managing editor Kim Marcus joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beats include Austria, Greece, southern France and Portugal.
Kim Marcus

A Hearty California Red with Plenty of Zest

Cline Zinfandel California Ancient Vines 2008

Kim Marcus
Posted: May 21, 2010

OK, so who wouldn’t be attracted to a wine called “Ancient Vines?” After all, when it comes to grapevines, older is usually better, promising wines with deep, intense flavors. This wine, at $18 a bottle in New York, delivers what I look for in a Zinfandel: firm, juicy flavors of plum and red berry that are quite zesty, backed up by plenty of firm acidity. Also, this Zin offers an interesting beefy aroma, which would make a great match with a good burger or steak (though my California colleague Tim Fish recently enjoyed it with pork chops).

Cline’s Ancient Vines’ grapes were harvested from some of this family-owned winery’s oldest vineyards, some up to a century in age. They hail from a variety of sources, the most important of which is in Oakley, in the eastern reaches of the Bay Area’s Contra Costa County. The Oakley vines are grown without supplemental irrigation, a rarity in California. Grapes also come from the Lodi district in the Sacramento Valley, as well as Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The wine was aged seven months in American oak barrels, 30 percent of which were new. This is a fine, hearty Zinfandel, and I rated it 87 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Cline Zinfandel California Ancient Vines 2008 (88, $16).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Zinfandel.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.