If one goes back a few decades in bargain California wines, three names stand out for me: McManis, Bogle and, my personal favorite, the wines of Cline Family Cellars. These wineries have always delivered value, and I recommend you get to know them. But for me, Cline is outdoing itself. Their most recent releases, “farmhouse” red and white and the Ancient Vines Zinfandel, are all terrific. I rated the 2017 white at 89 points and the 2016 Zin at 92. (Remarkable quality at $15.) But I’m most smitten with the farmhouse (lowercase “f”) red. I can’t think of a better everyday red for your summer grilling or just casual sipping when a red is desired. A cornucopia of grapes make up this outstanding blend, and I worry slightly about praising it so highly. But if the past is any indication, Cline will continue to offer great pricing on what may be some of California’s best value wines. They make numerous old-vine reds from up to 100-year-old Contra Costa County grapes. Try them all!
2016 Cline Family Cellars farmhouse red $12.99 srp
The label looks like those brown towels you find in boy’s locker rooms! However, what’s inside is deep garnet in color with lightening rim. The nose is full throttle with boysenberry, plum and spicy black cherry compote. A soft, velvety bouquet and texture somewhat like a fruit rollup. Sappy, smooth and soft on the palate and finish, the berry flavors in warm oak binding are designed for current drinking. This is an everyday red that over-delivers. (39% Merlot, 21% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel, 9% Grenache, 7% Petite Sirah, 3% Mourvedre) Drink now-2019.