Meadow Muffin

Medium ruby with garnet edges. A most repulsive nose, equal parts eucalyptus and hot-dog farts. A grassy, rubbery putridness envelopes everything, making any search for fruit–or anything else worth smelling–completely futile. It never changes.

This is Cline’s little venture into a part of California wine country I am quite familiar with: Tehama and Shasta Counties, in the far north foothill areas of the Central (or Sacramento) Valley. Although these areas are often lumped in with “Sierra Foothill” wine-regions, they are actually the very southern portion of the Cascade Range, where it mingles with the beginning of the Sierra Nevadas which traverse the rest of California. Ridiculously volcanic, this particular vineyard lies in one of a series of little micro-valleys between escarpments rising up from the valley floor eventually becoming Mt. Lassen. This wine is NOT from Manton Valley AVA–something loyal readers will recognize from the many wines I have enjoyed from that area–it is lower down toward the valley, about 20 miles away, several hundred feet in elevation lower, and with a steep canyon between them.

In the mouth, a weirdly artificial acidification blocks out a brief glimpse of pretty fruit in the entry. It turns terribly burning bitter almost immediately, growing towards the finish, but–to its credit–trailing a teensy bit of sweet zinny fruit behind it. The burn in your throat after swallowing is your lasting memory.

2015 CLINE FAMILY CELLARS Zinfandel Meadowbrook Ranch Vineyard Tehama Co. California 15.0

clinecellars.com

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