New World Blends and Unbridled Enthusiasm

Cline Cellars

Cline Cellars

Last night I attended my son’s last high school band performance. It was rather moving when all the seniors expressed to their band teacher how much he’s meant to them, inspired them, taught them, supported them, encouraged them and challenged them. Like my son, most of the kids have had Mr. Phillips for all four years. He has been a wonderful influence in their lives as the students themselves attested. But there was something else that I noticed during the concert that was very moving. Each time someone won an award, or played a solo the entire group of kids, and there are about 150 of them, cheered and applauded. There was no competitive jealousy, no sour grapes. The entire ensemble truly functioned as one. There seemed to be an underlying realization that they were only as good as the least among them, that by lifting up each other, they lifted up the whole. The students’ wonderful, unbridled camaraderie can be wholely attributed to Mr. Phillips’ enthusiastic leadership.

Many of the great wines of the world are single varietal; the Pinot Noir of Burgundy, the Chardonnay of Chablis, or the Cabernet Sauvignon of Napa. And while some the great wines of the world are blends, in the new world, when we look for great wines, we look for single varietals. There’s almost a condescension when it comes to blends in the new world, as if the varietals are not of good enough quality to stand on their own.

A region shared by both Sonoma and Napa, Carneros provides a cool climate due to the air off the San Pablo Bay. It is a region that has long been known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Cline Cellars does grow some of those traditional grapes. But its founder, Fred Cline, is one of the original Rhone Rangers, the group of winegrowers who brought Rhone varietals to California in the 1980’s.

Cline Cellars Red Cashmere Blend

Cline Cellars Red Cashmere Blend

Cline Cellars continues to excel in the Rhone varietals, offering Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier in the whites as well as Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre in the reds. Viognier, Syrah and Mouvedre are made as single varietals. The Marsanne and Rousanne are blended as is the Grenache. Two blends offered at Cline Cellars are the Cashmere wines, made in both white and red. The Cashmere white is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Viognier. It has beautiful fruit and floral aromas with enough acidity to make it food friendly, and just enough oak to give it some vanilla notes.

While the white Cashmere is lovely, the red Cashmere is stunning. The classic southern Rhone G-S-M blend (Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre) is made even better with the addition of Petite Sirah. These four grapes together produce a wine with dark cherry and raspberry aromas with a dusting of chocolate notes. The acidity is crisp, and the tannins are velvety. Soft and rich, both blends live up to their name, Cashmere. Under the direction of the right winemaker, a new world blend can be a truly great wine.

This entry was posted in wine.

11 comments on “New World Blends and Unbridled Enthusiasm

  1. I LOVE how you’re able tie seemingly disparate subjects together in a way the appears seamless.

  2. that appears seamless; not “the appears.”

  3. I love the Cashmere – such a great wine for a great price! And I’m glad the band performance went well.

  4. One of the things with blends is that you can’t always know what to expect, whereas varietals maybe you feel more comfortable when buying it what it might be like. It doesn’t stop me mind, I love trying all the different blends, just throwing out a potential reason they sometimes struggle on the market…

    • foxress says:

      That’s an excellent point. We’re definitely more varietal-centric in the new world. It’s so different from Europe where many of the great wines are blends (Rhone, Bordeaux, Champagne, Cava, Sherry, Super Tuscans, Veneto etc.)

  5. KC says:

    Hubby and I enjoyed a bottle of Cashmere red last night; your review was spot on. What a lovely, lovely wine and I am thrilled to have found it in east Tennessee!

    • foxress says:

      So glad you liked the wine!
      East Tennessee…I was going to ask. I used to live in Dyersburg (not at all east) and loved it! Tennessee is the absolute friendliest state, and the state with the greatest sense of fun, that I have ever lived in.

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