North Coast Viognier
North Coast Viognier – CLINE CELLARS is a family-owned vineyard and winery with 460 hectares under vine in Contra Costa County and Sonoma County, California. 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. In the 1990s, the family moved their winemaking operation to a 350 acre ranch in Carneros Valley, adopting sustainable farming in 2000, and building the largest solar panelled winery in California. Whist others in California were focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the ‘80s, Fred Cline saw the potential of Rhône varieties and Zinfandel in his vineyards.
Cline Cellars produce sustainably farmed, hand-crafted wines which have all the appeal and ripe fruit you might expect from California but in an authentic, highly rewarding, terroir-driven style.
VIDEO: Cline Cellars – Sonoma County Wine Tasting Room
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. This varietal comes from the Northern Rhône Valley in France. Presumed to have arrived from Dalmatia and transported to the Rhone 1,700 years ago by Romans. There are only 2,000 acres of this variety in California at this time.
The grapes are handpicked and de-stemmed without being crushed then immediately pumped to the tank press where the juice is gently squeezed from the grapes. Juice is pumped to a stainless steel fermenting tank and the wine is chilled and settled overnight. The juice is then racked (decanted) off the grape solids and inoculated with a pure strain of wine yeast. Fermentation proceeds at a cool 10 degrees C to preserve the lovely fruit character in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.
What does it go with?:
Pairs well with white or shell fish, strong and creamy cheeses, sushi, or tarragon chicken.