Wine, Water and Willows at Cline Cellars
There are many highlights that sparkle in my memory of our California wine country visit in April 2010. Carol and I had been planning that visit for over 10 years, off and on, and when we finally decided to make it happen, we were not disappointed. I think the best parts were the ones that were completely unexpected or unplanned. Our impromptu stop at Cline Cellars, in Sonoma's Carneros Region, on our way to our weekend in San Francisco was one of those data points.
We’d had two vintages of Cline zinfandel at Grandpa Martino Memorial Dinners, the 1999 and the 2002. My reviews of those vintages were quite favorable so when Carol pointed out the Cline Vineyards sign as we approached it on Friday afternoon, I was more than happy to pull in for a look. Turns out, Carol had an ulterior motive and was hoping we’d run across Cline during our time in wine country.
The Cline brochure has some great pictures and one shows sheep wandering amidst the vineyards. Having lived in the UK, we find sheep on a hillside an appealing image and sheep with a wine twist -- well, I understand why she wanted to check it out. Plus, there are five ponds surrounded by willow trees on the grounds and Carol knows how much I love willows and water. What neither of us knew however, was that this winery visit would be our best and the memories created that afternoon were among our favorites in all our travels.
We took a bit of a stroll through the expansive garden-like grounds before making our way into the tasting room. We hadn’t planned on doing a tasting but we knew we wanted to hang around a while so I asked Annabel, one of the Cline folks at the tasting bar, if we could purchase a ½ bottle and drink it outside on the deck overlooking the vineyards.
She said, “Of course” and that’s just what we did. It was such a beautiful day and such a perfect place, we decided to buy a loaf of bread and a bit of cheese and have lunch right there at the winery. The bread and cheese were great and we ended up having a second ½ bottle while spending the entire afternoon at Cline, taking the tour and soaking up the entire experience.
As I wrote, the memory of that afternoon is a very powerful one for me right now and certainly the best experience at a winery while on this adventure. Our sincere thanks to Annabel for the hospitality (she also gave us the tour) and to everyone at Cline Cellars for knowing how to make guests feel welcome. We will find a way to visit Cline again someday.
For more information on Cline wines and the winery, please check out their website HERE.