Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Marsanne Roussanne Blend from Cline Cellars

In 1991, Fred Cline and his wife Nancy relocated their winery from Oakley, Contra Costa County, to the Carneros region where Fred pioneered the planting of Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Fred chose to farm his vineyards naturally and sustainably using organic cover crops, compost teas, crushed volcanic rock and oyster shell, natural mined sulfur and sheep grazing.

The Marsanne used in the blend comes from four acres planted on the winery's Carneros estate. Marsanne is a white grape variety commonly found in the Rhône Valley where it most likely originated. With Syrah and Roussanne, it is one of the three varietals permitted in the Hermitage appellation. This was the first planting of Marsanne in the region. The blend has also a smaller amount of Roussanne from Cline's Sonoma Coast vineyards near Petaluma. The wine is fermented in stainless steel to preserve fruitiness and freshness.

The 2007 Cline Marsanne Roussanne Los Carneros was the wine I brought as I was invited with some good friends for lunch. Our host had cooked a sumptuous meal starting with a soft-boiled egg topped with whipped cream and salmon roe, followed by a Baked Pork Tenderloin in Pastry with Provencal Vegetable Gratin, and ending with a Grapefruit and Champagne Granité.

I think the wine did a pretty good job with the food. Showing a bright golden color, it had aromas of ripe pear and apple on the nose. The palate was round and mellow with some juicy acidity and a mineral finish.

soft-boiled egg topped with whipped cream and salmon roe, baked pork tenderloin in pastry, and Provencal vegetable gratin

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