Make us your home page

Drinks of the week: 2014 Avalon California Chard, 2014 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Thanksgiving dinner isn't the time to break out the pricey look-at-me wines. You want a wine that plays well with all those diverse tastes on the table, one that's food friendly but with enough character to stand its ground next to everything from the turkey to the pumpkin pie.

White or red? Again, the many flavors of the Thanksgiving feast mean you can go either way (or have both), but I'd avoid the really lightweight whites, like pinot grigio, or the heavyweight reds such as cabernet sauvignon.

That leaves plenty to choose from in the middle. One white to consider is the 2014 Avalon California Chard, widely available at about $10. Made from grapes grown in a variety of traditional chardonnay-producing regions, such as Russian River Valley and Santa Barbara County, the wine is 100 percent chardonnay, aged for three months in French oak.

The wine's aroma is full of ripe pear, with touches of nutmeg and vanilla. Its flavors are fruit forward: more pear plus Golden Delicious apple, even hints of guava and lemon. Complementing the fruit are vanilla, baking spices and a light kiss of butterscotch. There's oak, but it's understated. The finish is a clean pop of pear and lemon.

If you're thinking red, think about the 2014 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel. Cline has a range of zins; this one falls into the midrange prize point, widely available at about $14. Its grapes come from century-old vineyards in Contra Costa Valley; the wine is 93 percent zinfandel, with the balance petite sirah, carignane and alicante bouschet. It's aged in a combination of old and new American oak for seven months.

On the nose, the first hit is cherry jam, balanced with notes of chocolate and coffee. Take a mouthful of this deep-red zin, and the cherry joins juicy strawberry and blackberry, with touches of clove, cedar and bramble. Soft tannins work with all those rich flavors. The long finish is mostly chocolate cherry, but a whiff of woodsmoke keeps it savory.

Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer

Drinks of the week: 2014 Avalon California Chard, 2014 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 11/18/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 2:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF's 'Black Pulp!' and 'Woke!' exhibits reframe African-American representation

    Visual Arts

    The concept of being "woke" is inextricably woven into the zeitgeist. To be truly woke, you have to be aware of not only current social injustices, but also the historical fight against prejudice.

    Renee Cox’s Chillin with Liberty (1998) is part of the “Black Pulp!” exhibition at the University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum.
  2. New podcast: Don't forget your goat leggings, Dragnet fans!


    The Stuck in the '80s podcast returned on Sunday with an episode on "Underrated Movies from 1987" - this time June of that year. This week, we celebrate the pure goodness of Dragnet and Roxanne

  3. Hernando Events for June 30-July 6


    30 Friday

    Free Zika training: Presented by the Hernando Computer Club, the training is for those who wish to assist in the effort to find a cure for the Zika virus. Club members are volunteers for World Community Grid and are donating their devices' spare computing power to help scientists find a …

  4. Boy Scouts to head up Temple Terrace's 4th of July parade


    TEMPLE TERRACE — Volunteering is a major priority in scouting and prepping teens to become leaders is the primary purpose of the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout program.

  5. Lutz lends old-fashioned feel to 4th of July events


    LUTZ — Attendees of the Lutz 4th of July celebration will take a step back in time with a parade, games, races, music and the election of the Guv'na of Lutz.