Oletko yli 18 vuotias?

Sivustomme sisältö on tarkoitettu vain täysi-ikäisille

Fascinating new world whites

Fred Cline is one of the original Rhône Rangers, a group of winemakers who championed the Rhône varieties in California from the 1980s onwards. He founded Cline Family Cellars in Oakley, California in 1982 and started out by making Rhône style red blends using grapes from very old vineyards. In 1989, Cline took a big step forward with the purchase of a 350-acre horse farm in Sonoma-Carneros which they then planted with vines including the main Rhône varieties. In the picture below Fred Cline and his agricultural partner in crime, Bobby Cannard.

Cline is all about sustainably farmed vineyards. Fred and Nancy raised their 7 kids on the farm and wanted to make sure they had a safe place to play. It was therefore important that pesticides and herbicides were not used to grow the grapes. Instead, they use cover crops and compost teas to nourish the soil and sheep to control the weeds to create healthy vines now and for the next generations. The wines carry Certified California Sustainable and Sonoma County Sustainable -certificates.

North Coast Californian Sauvignon Blanc has not been part of Alko’s selection in the past. The grapes come from the northernmost regions of California where the vineyards are often at high altitudes. Hot days and cold nights allow the grapes to ripen early while retaining bright acidity and crisp flavors. Try this one with poached salmon and Hollandaise sauce spiked with herbs.

Cline Family Cellars use more than 1,500 sheep and 500 goats to maintain its vineyard.


The 25th May 2023 was International Chardonnay Day and at midday, a small group of wine professionals gathered at Muru Wine Bar for the first Helsinki Chardonnay Challenge. Bottles were uncorked, screw caps were cracked and glasses were filled while 10 of Finland’s top sommeliers and wine writers made themselves comfortable. The itinerary for the afternoon was a blind tasting of new world and old world Chardonnay to find out what the best Finnish palates preferred.

Old world wines were chosen by Finnish wine legend Samuil Angelov, and came from Muru’s cellars as well as a range of other importers. Tom Murray Willis chose the new world wines came from Thirsty Bear’s and Viinitie’s portfolios. There were 3 different price categories: A (around 50€ or more), B (around 25-50€), C (around 25€ or less). Each category had 3 old world and 3 new world Chardonnays in a random order and the judges were asked to score each wine on a 100-point scale. The challenge commenced shortly after midday.

When the glasses were empty and the dust had settled, the results were clear. The new world wines dominated every single price category. Category A was Australia first and second with USA third. Category B was USA first, Australia second and France third. Category C was again Australia first and second with France in third place. The top wine of the day was Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay 2020 from Gippsland in Victoria, Australia with 92 points.

You can read the full story at Viinilehti.com. Most of the winning wines are available in Alko stores with limited availability. This event was sponsored by the Australian Embassy and Viinilehti so a huge thanks goes out to both.

Samuil Angelov and Tom Murray Willis

Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay

Bass Phillip
89,99 €
Moniulotteinen Chardonnay Gippslandista.

Little Yering Chardonnay

Yering Station
20,90 €
Hapokkuudellaan ja hedelmäisyydellään viettelevä chardonnay.

Tahbilk Marsanne Viognier Roussanne

15,95 €
Mielenkiintoinen valkoinen rhône-blendi Australian ensimmäiseltä hiilineutraalilta viinimöltä.
Tom Murray Willis

Founder Tom Murray's Thirsty Bear is a Helsinki-based wine agency that focuses on the New World with a few special exceptions. We love independent, family owned vineyards and organically farmed grapes. Our goal is to bring more wine with character made by passionate winemakers to the people of Finland.

Näytä kaikki kirjoittajan artikkelit