The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 is 100% Syrah sourced from two Cline Estate vineyards in the Petaluma Gap AVA inside the Sonoma Coast Ava that is also located inside the Sonoma County AVA in Northern California. Cline Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded in 1982 and was one of the original members of the Rhone Rangers. Most California wineries take their inspiration from Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc) or Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The Rhone Rangers were an organization of winemakers following the lead of the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Grenache, and other French grapes). The Petaluma Gap is located just 25 miles north of San Francisco and is a gap in the coastal mountain range that allows cool Pacific Ocean winds flow into the valleys and hillsides. The winds provide the vineyards the condition for a long, steady growing season.
This Syrah was fermented with natural yeast, that is the yeast that floats naturally in the air and clings to the grape skins, they don’t need commercial processed yeast. The wine was aged on medium toast French oak with 40% of the oak new, 60% used oak. I am not using the word “barrel” here since the technical notes do not mention oak barrels, but the wording strongly suggests oak barrels, rather than other methods. This is a wine that lists for $14 and I found on sale for $9.99. This is interesting since one of the main differences between a $10 wine and a $25 dollar wine is the $25 wine more likely uses estate fruit, most of which are sourced from a well regarded AVA and is produced by a family-owned winery rather than a Brand wine. The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah checks off almost all of the boxes for the more expensive wine, yet is a very affordable price. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a deep, dark, opaque purple. The nose is rich, intense, and spicy, there is black pepper, a generous dose of spice, chocolate brownies, blueberry, smoke off the BBQ grill, and orange zest. This Syrah has smooth fruit and plenty of spice to give a smooth/rough contrast. It starts with blueberry, molasses, licorice, black pepper, and spice, this is not a shy Syrah. The mid-palate brings raspberry, a slight and welcome pull from the tannins, a soothing creamy sensation, and a hint of milk chocolate. The acidity is well-balanced, for pairing the usual BBQ, hamburger, pizza thing comes to mind, but this drinks very well.
- This isn’t scientific, more observations from 11 years of doing a value-priced wine review website. hen a value-priced wine uses 100% of a certain grape they are telling you that they are using very good grapes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding 5% of this and 10% of that to wine anything to improve the final outcome is much appreciated. But when you see 100% of a single grape varietal, take notice.
- Shiraz/Syrah from Australia was one of the first wines to catch my notice all those long years ago and when Australian Shiraz started to fade I never found a US Syrah to take its place. I wish I knew about Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 earlier. I think its really good.