There is something special about rainy Saturday afternoons – no yard work; no kid’s soccer games; no errands to run. It allows for some ‘down’ time. In our hustle and bustle world, down time usually means turn on the television, put your feet up on the coffee table and kick back for an afternoon of (snooze) entertainment. This is almost exactly what happened today except that there was a free preview of HBO and Cinemax on what Jean’s Mom used to call the “idiot box” and we came upon a favorite movie from 2003 – Seabiscuit.
Okay, okay we admit it’s not exactly gripping drama, but you have to admit, for a true story, it’s better than average! Derived from the book, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand that was originally published in 2001, it tells the true story about a thoroughbred race horse, Seabiscuit. More than just a story about a horse race, it really focused on what it meant to be an underdog. Underdog (and no, we’re not talking one of our favorite childhood cartoons) . . . that’s code for you aren’t supposed to win. You aren’t supposed to succeed or be successful. You are supposed to fight for everything, but rarely, if ever, win. America loves underdogs – whether it was in the last century or today. We have a passion for those that aren’t supposed to win. We root for them; we cheer them on and we feel their joy when they upset or feel their pain when they fall short. Seabiscuit, and countless other icons of the past and present, are reminders of what it means to be an underdog, and what it means to come out on top.
Tonight we sampled a wine that doesn’t have the pedigree of Napa Valley. It doesn’t have the tenure of century vines, and it doesn’t have the “name” of true California Zinfandels. It DOES have what we’ve come to expect, even with a value price, in tasty zinfandels. A trip to H-E-B last week uncovered some ‘closeout’ deals on wine and one of the was a 2010 Cline Zinfandel. Now, you gotta love the story about how Cline came about. “In the latter part of the 1800s, Oakley, Contra Costa County was a booming farming community with thousands of acres of orchards and healthy vineyards. Fred Cline’s maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi of pump and spa fame, called this place home. On summer visits to his grandparents, Fred learned both the love of agricultural life and the mysteries of vinifying grapes into wine. These lessons led Fred to obtain a degree in Agriculture Management from U.C. Davis. In 1982, with an inheritance from his grandfather, Fred founded Cline Cellars near Oakley, California. Here, he preserved and restored many ancient vine sites to their rightful reign as premier California wine lands. In 1991, Fred and his wife Nancy relocated the winery from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma County on a historic 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities. While much of the cool Carneros region is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, Fred pioneered the planting of Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Over the years, Fred’s innovation has consistently resulted in some of northern California’s most distinctive Rhône-style wines and intense, flavorful Zinfandels, many with 90+ point ratings from Wine Spectator. Wine & Spirits called our Ancient Vines Mourvèdre “one of the top 100 values,” and in 2011 Robert Parker Jr. wrote in the Wine Advocate, “this is the finest portfolio of value-priced wines from Cline Cellars that I have tasted to date.”
Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, we thought so too. Priced at around $12 a bottle, this unassuming underdog delivered a huge nose of spice and a wide array of dark berry fruit including black cherry and strawberry. Additionally, the spice notes and a lasting finish of vanilla from oak aging and firm, supple tannins add complexity to this wine. We enjoyed this wine with a hot, fresh pizza from Dominos and it really stood up well. It’s proof positive that underdogs can achieve greatness and this 2010 Cline Zinfandel is a diamond in the rough! Really, buying wine is about what you like to drink, what you like to enjoy and if trying an underdog is not “beneath” you, then give this one a try.
Just like Seabiscuit, back in 1938, when the feared legend, War Admiral was winning virtually every race horse entered, pedigree only lasts for so long before sheer guts and determination triumph. You’ll enjoy this wine whether you consider it an underdog or a favorite. We’ve added it to our list of wines to be enjoyed anytime. Have a great rest of the evening and enjoy a glass of wine!
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.