Sonoma's Cline Cellars is another of those California wineries that made its bones producing a line of superior zinfandels. Over the years it has branched out into other varietals, of which the 2012 Cline Cool Climate Pinot Noir (about $15 at wine-savvy markets) is a good example.
This is a lush and sprightly red, bursting with red fruits and lightly accented with spearmint. Aging 11 months in oak lends a hint of vanilla. Raspberry is dominant on the nose but other red fruits add their scents, as do bramble and warm spice. Ripe red raspberry leads on the tongue, too, followed by strawberry and accented with judicious squirts of chocolate cherry and cassis. The finish is long and, like the body at mid palate, full and velvety.
This pinot is a fine food wine and will pair well with fare as diverse as cedar-planked salmon, a traditional Tampa Cuban sandwich or a lusty mushroom risotto.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.