Note: We received the bottle of Clif Family Zinfandel that we review as a sample.

Clif Family Wines

The Clif family are more famous for their eponymous Clif bars than they are for wine. This is a shame, as they make excellent wines. We have written in the past about the experience at their St Helena Tasting room. Since writing that article we have taken several groups of people to Clif Family. Every time we have had an excellent experience.

Gary’s Improv Zinfandel

Gary Erickson, the creator of the Clif Bar, is a keen jazz trumpet player. It is that passion that gives the Zinfandel the “Improv” name.  The fruit for the Clif Family Zinfandel comes from Beatty Ranch on Howell Mountain. This vineyard is some 2000 feet above the valley floor. The vines are over a century old.

The wine ages for fifteen months in 25% new French oak barrels. Five hundred and fifty cases of the 2016 vintage were made. Clif Family Zinfandel

Tasting the Clif Family Zinfandel.

The nose was rich, heavily leaden with aromas of dark fruit. The bouquet offered an alluring first impression.

Taking a sip I found good acidity, that balanced rich blackberry notes. The tannins were assertive but not aggressive. California Zinfandel can, all to often, be an overly fruit wine; one for adjectives like “jammy” are used. The Zinfandel had a balance and elegance that delighted both Amber and me. We paired the wine with steak and salad.

The wine retails for $45 ($36 for club members). You can buy the Clif Family Zinfandel from their website.


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