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by Fred McMillin
Contra Costa Hoopla
Contra Costa is Spanish for the "other coast" across the water from San Francisco. One of the original 27 counties of California, Contra Costa is red wine country. It has the highest percentage of red wine grapes in the state. Due to the high quality of its Mourvedre, Carignane, etc., around the town of Oakley, the region is suddenly called the "Rhone Valley of California."
...Prof. John Baxevanis, Wine Regions of America
Our Contra Costa vineyard is best known for its 100-year-old plot of Mourvedre near Oakley, which represents 85% of the state's supply of this fascinating varietal.
...Fred and Matt Cline of Cline Cellars
The Rest of the Story
It wasn't always peaches and cream at Cline Cellars. A dozen years ago there was such little interest in Mourvedre that the winery didn't generate sufficient funds to bottle the 1987 vintage. Yet, two years later the Rhone Rangers started to stir, and sales soon shot through the roof. If you want to taste what caused all the excitement, here is the latest bottle my panel enjoyed.
'94 Mourvedre, Contra Costa County
Contra Costa Tidits:
Thirteen years earlier the first physician to practice medicine in the area arrived at Martinez. The residents became so dissatisfied with Dr. John Marsh's services and his charges that three of them murdered him. (Source: The Robert's Historic California)
Note: For an earlier tasting of the '94 Cline Mourvedre, see the Aug. 25, 1997 WineDay, " Mourvedre's Doomsday."
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