Ancient-Vine Opulence From “Big 3” Sites
The most successful under-$20 Zinfandel in Wine Access history? It’s not even close. Bursting with black-fruit intensity, Matt Cline’s extravagant Three Wine Company Old Vines Contra Costa Zinfandel blend regularly sells out within hours, garnering the most five-star reviews in its category from Wine Access clients. Wine Enthusiast went to town on Cline’s “opulent and ripe” 2014 effort, pinning on 91 points and its Editors’ Choice award. Drawn from Cline’s “Big 3” vineyard sites — Evanghelo (125 years old), Bigelow (100+ years old), Mazzoni–Live Oak (132 years old) — plus a smattering of grapes from 130-year-old blocks, this Zinfandel has the spectacular concentration, silken texture, and luscious boysenberry core you’d expect from Paul Draper’s Ridge “Geyserville.” At just $16.99 per bottle it might be the most extraordinary 100-year-old-vine bargain in the world — the wine equivalent of flopping a royal flush. Buy every case you can stuff in your cellar.
In 1982, fresh out of UC Berkeley and UC Davis, Matt Cline discovered a vinicultural hidden treasure, becoming the first winemaker to identify the ancient-vine opportunity in Contra Costa County. One by one, Cline made handshake deals with the ancestors of immigrant families — Lucchesis, Spinellis, Evangelhos — who’d first planted their vineyards there in the 1880s. With Warren Buffett-like foresight, the young winemaker locked into contracts for dozens of historic parcels, the oldest of which are now over 125 years of age. In the years to come, Cline would fashion some of the greatest Zinfandels on the coast, sourcing impeccable fruit from Contra Costa’s astonishing old-vine sites.
In 2014, Cline dialed up the hits again for what is surely one of the richest and most perfectly structured Zinfandels of his career. For this blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mataro, and Alicante Bouschet, Cline’s “Big 3” sites — Evanghelo (125 years old), Bigelow (100+ years old), Mazzoni–Live Oak (132 years old) — plus a smattering of grapes from 130-year-old sites provide the fruit. Big, bold, and sumptuously rich, hit buy now on this Wine Access favorite or risk seeing the two most dreaded words in our business: SOLD OUT.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access