When my colleague returned from PressCamp last month with wine, I was one happy camper. Pun intended: the latest offering from the outdoor adventure gurus at Clif brings a smile that another pair of socks or sunglasses just can’t match.
We already love the company’s line up of bars that span the chewy-crunchy craving spectrum. But wine? From an endurance nutrition company? Why not. Sure, it’s in a completely different territory than the stuff we usually review (as I wipe chocolate paste from my lips), Clif’s done so much for on-the-go fueling we just couldn’t ignore their latest venture. Clif Family Winery & Farm‘s new adventure-ready vino pouches merge class with convenience, foodie-ism with functionality, and relaxation with recovery.
Before I get into bouquets and finishes, let me just say that this isn’t another instance of a company trying to be everything to everyone. Clif’s approach to wine seems, from my amateurish vantage point, legit. While their gels and granola bars skyrocketing in popularity, co-CEO’s Garry Erickson and Kit Crawford acquired a farm and winery. That quiet escape from the grind has since grown into a full-fledged, certified organic operation. Their winemakers, Sarah Gott and Bruce Regalia, both come armed with solid backgrounds in viticulture and experience honed in the Napa Valley. (Gott is also a triathlete herself, lending even more credence to the project.)
From their website, the farm “serves as a daily reminder to slow down and breathe a little deeper, a lot more often.” We busy triathletes can use a little help in that department, can’t we? Enter Clif’s new pouched wine, appropriately named The Climber. Wait! Before you write us off as boxed-wine loving barbarians, give this wine a chance. With an “ultalight, go-anywhere design,” these wine pouches have an 80 percent lower carbon footprint than their equivalent of two glass bottles. They also contribute 90 percent less waste and are easier to tote around. The Climber is available in two varieties: an unoaked chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon. Still not convinced? Try one for yourself.
One of my favorite things about boxed wine (once I’d shaken the silly stereotype) is that you don’t have to drink the whole bottle in one sitting. As triathletes, we’re always watching our “empty calories” consumption; it can, unfortunately be all too tempting to finish off that bottle with a partner or friend because you want to consume it in its prime. With boxes (or pouches, in this case), the self-sealing spigot keeps the wine fresh for at least a month. You can pour a small, four-ounce glass to sip with dinner and not feel bad at the next morning’s Masters session.
As for the taste? I’m no sommelier, but Clif’s cab passed my house wine test. It’s a very drinkable, smooth wine without getting close to being flat and boring. With notes of blackcurrant and plum (original, I know), this is a cab that’s not cloying or jammy. I was actually quite surprised at the degree of complexity they achieved in a wine at this price point. The chardonnay is perfect for summer drinking: alive with sweet citrus notes that are mellowed out by the roundness of melon.
I’m surprised more wineries aren’t packaging their wine like this. It’s simple, smart, and green … definitely worth looking forward to after a long day of working and training. Purchase yours at www.cliffamilywinery.com/wine