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March Madness: When Pigs Fly!

Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown
16 Pinots – 4 Master Sommeliers – 1 Winner

Soliste 2010 Forêt, Sonoma Coast
An unexpected recognition

 

Pigs and Pinot – There is no better pairing! Charlie Palmer’s celebration of Pinot Noir and all things Pork has be-come an iconic event on the Pinot calendar. This year Master Sommelier (and 2014 Smackdown King) Keith Goldston selected 2010 Soliste Forêt to be included in the “Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown.” Four Master Sommeliers each present four Pinot Noirs (16 in all) to be evaluated against each other in a 2014 Pigs and Pinot Sommeliers and Solisteshall we say, French debate style. No wonder Claude enjoyed it so much. Pairs of Pinots were brought together and the sommelier defended their choice (or spoke poorly of their competition and the pedigree of the other sommelier, you get the idea…smackdown!). A tent of 100 enthusiastic pinot lovers raised their hands to select their favorite. Four rounds later, Soliste Forêt stood alone, the winner of the 2014 Sommelier Smackdown.

In the final round, scores of people held out empty glasses, asking for more Forêt – it was amazing! At that point, our dream was realized regardless of outcome. We have always said the best way to determine the best wine is to look for the empty glass. The pinot-lovers voted with their palate and that ultimately is what really matters to us. The Flying Pig trophy held by our talented winemaker Ryan Zepaltas made a perfect centerpiece for our festive family celebration dinner late into the night.

Forêt represents everything we believe can arise from our commitment to Single Vineyard, Single Clone, and Single Cooperage (MonoClone®) wines. Why have we accepted this unknown risk to make MonoClone Pinots? It simply comes from our fascination for great red Burgundies. These amazing wines all have very different aromatics and complexities within just a few kilometers: Volnay is very different from Gevrey, Chambolle, Pommard, Vosne, Vougeot, Corton… So we decided to identify a Single Clone, married with a specific site, climate and exposure and then, to age individually in their respective single cooperage (barrels). Forêt is absolutely unique, stand alone, and we did not think in our wildest dreams that it would be possible to craft a Pinot Noir in California of such depth, spice and earthiness. Forêt is indeed ready now, but it will age for many years as the structure of this magnificent wine is timeless.

Forêt brings Claude back to his home in Bourgogne from a very unlikely place in the Sonoma fog where we began together the journey that is Soliste.

 

Forêt 2011, the mysterious and intoxicating aromas of Vosne Romanée. 

2011 Nouveau Monde Label 2011 Soliste Pinot Noir Forêt, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Mysterious depth and luminosity showing density and structure, dark boysenberry gemlike in the glass, a clear reflection of tannin purity.

Le Nez / The Nose
Extremely Exotic aromas of bitter caramelized wild cherries, plums, and earthiness interlaced with herbal tones, violets, espresso grounds and refined scents of sous-bois (forest floor). As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more focused and dense with dark cherry compote aromatics, superbly elegant and powerful, adding bitter chocolate and pine needles.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers extraordinary texture and depth with tight layers of exotic spice and black tea must. This is a wine of great depth, structure and grip. Pronounced concentration of dark wild cherry compote and spiced plums spiked with bitter caramel, black pepper, and cocoa nibs. The mid-palate is definitely earthy (oh, Vosne Romanee here you come) laced of musty sous-bois (forest floor), mushrooms, black tea, anise, and fresh herbal aromatics, all in a superb balance and harmony. Positively refined in texture but palpably dense in tannic concentration accented with bright natural acidity, the finish is simply infinite. It will linger and linger and…This Pinot will age magnificently as the aromas will simply become more voluptuous with time.

12.9% alc. 149 cases
By Limited Allocation $ 85.00 

 


 

Introducing Nouveau Monde 2011

Pommard meets Volnay – The Quest for Perfection Continues. Redefining Finesse.

We are proud to release the first of our 2011 vintage and next in our series of MonoClone® Pinot Noirs, Nouveau Monde. Expect great fascination from this incredibly aromatic, exotic and elegant Pinot Noir. Nouveau Monde is the pure expression of our Philosophy: To focus on a single clone to craft a wine that beautifully marries the virtues of both Volnay and Pommard.

Nouveau Monde 2011, the intoxicating elegance of Pommard.

 

2011 Nouveau Monde Label 2011 Soliste Pinot Noir Nouveau Monde, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
The purest of ruby clarity and luminosity with vibrant boysenberry crystalline; a Cote de Beaune classic

Le Nez / The Nose
On the nose, exotic aromatics of intoxicating red fruits (raspberries, wild strawberries, tart red cherries) layered with violets, refined scents of sous-bois (forest floor), exotic spices interlaced with black tea leaves. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more voluptuous with peppery red fruit compote texture, fattening up with vanilla, rose petals and a hint of truffles.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers extraordinary energy and verve with a compelling concentration of caramelized red fruits spiked with vanilla and herbal tones. This is a wine of grande finesse, velvety and focused. It carries on with great purity into layers of griottines (wild cherries), black pepper, and cardamom. The mid-palate is laced of earthy sous-bois (forest floor), black tea, anise, and herbal aromatics, all in great balance and harmony. Positively silken in texture but palpably dense in aromatic concentration and tannins, the synergy between the fresh crystalline acidity and abundant yet fine tannins produces great length and finish seldom witnessed.

12.9% alc. 74 cases
Sold Out! $ 75.00 

 


L’Espérance 2011: Memories of Morey St Denis….Power and Finesse

For us, L’Espérance Pinot Noir is always the most anticipated release. It is the one that sets the tone and embodies all of the challenges, determination, sacrifice that comes with crafting compelling Pinot Noir.

Trilogy… 2009, 2010 and now the unparalleled 2011
When we started this journey, it was with the belief, hope (espérance), and determination to craft Pinot Noirs that were not only old world in style, but had a clear DNA from selected terroirs in Sonoma Coast. Along this voyage, we discovered that each clone has her own unique personality and complex aromas from each site. In 2009 we took the leap of faith to produce our first MonoClone® Pinot Noirs. By focusing on the single clone that would be in perfect harmony with vineyard site and aging them in a single provenance of French oak barrels – the results are simply stunning and magical.

The 2011 Vintage is one for the ages, a difficult vintage, only supporting the rule that Henry Jayer said, “Good wines are made in a great vintage but Great Wines are made in a difficult one.” A very cold growing season culminated by spiking heat meant that management in the vineyard had to be rigorous, precise and selection of cluster impeccable; it also meant very little yield. We also made the decision to age the wine for 16 months in French oak to create a few more layers of complexity, a velvety texture and fruit concentration.

The 2011 vintage benefits from our experience with the two magnificent vintages of 2009 & 2010 and clearly reflects what we have come to love in L’Espérance: elegance, finesse, spiced red fruit of great depth, and bright acidity on the finish, all tightly bound into a voluptuous velvet glove, very Chambollesque. This is why we make Pinot Noir.

The exotic aromatics of the 2011 L'Espérance is the result of our desire to harness the purity and complexity of one clone from one vineyard. It has always been our most sought after release. Because of our mad commitment to produce much fewer cases in order to craft extraordinary pinots that exemplify their identity and terroir, L’Espérance has become a very rare wine, not because we intended it to be, but because of the limited amount of wine produced – just 104 cases this year. Unfortunately this means we must limit allocations and we anticipate that L’Espérance will be sold out within the next few days.

This is Chambolle Musigny in the new world, simply unique and amazing.


L’Espérance 2011: concentration, finesse, and elegance. The paradox..

 

2011 L'Esperance Label 2011 Soliste Pinot Noir L'Espérance, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Brilliant and dense Ruby purity of raspberries and groseilles (red currants) with unmatched gem clarity and luminosity.

Le Nez / The Nose
A clear expression of Morey St Denis/Chambolle clone (Dijon 115): Exotic aromatics of pure spiced red tart wild cherries, kirsh-like, bright red fruits (raspberries, pomegranate) layered with elegant sous-bois (forest floor), refined scents of exotic cardamom, anis, peppery herbals (mint) interlaced with earthy undertones. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more voluptuous with high tone aromatics, superbly pure, and complex adding vanilla, truffles and black tea must – L’Espérance 2011 is concentration and elegance, a stunning paradox.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate carries on the theme, attacking with precise and harmonious layers of spiced caramelized raspberries and tart wild red cherries, an intensity that is only matched by the refined silky texture. The elegant, velvety raspberry and griottine compote carries on with exotic layers of tart groseille, cranberry and pomegranate interlaced with fatty vanilla bean and exotic spices. A fine layer of earthy truffles, black tea must, cardamom, anis, and herbal aromatics (mint) are interlaced with the finest tannins and fresh crystalline acidity, all adding to an incredible length and complexity.

Though delicate and refined, the paradoxical concentration and intensity of L’Espérance embodies our philosophy: Focus on a single clone gave birth to this absolutely stunning Pinot Noir. Powerful, yet refined, what a pinot noir should be and rarely is.

12.8% alc. 104 cases
Very Limited Allocation  $ 75.00 

 


L’Ambroisie 2011: Emotion in a Glass, Legendary…Soliste

SINGLE VINEYARD, SINGLE CLONE, ONE BARREL – MonoClone®

When we released and tasted our first barrel of L’Ambroisie in 2010, instantly we knew that this Pinot Noir was the One that would epitomize our Philosophy at Soliste. It exemplifies our commitment and passion to craft compelling Pinot Noirs that are deeply rooted in our admiration of the magnificent, peerless wines of Burgundy.

L’Ambroisie is not an experiment, it benefits from its siblings L’Espérance and Nouveau Monde, and from being in the conversation with Great Burgundies – anything else for us is simply not acceptable. Some may feel that it is presumptuous of us to even declare such ideas, others, closer to us hint it is just madness…obsession.

We could tell you so much more about this fascinating wine, the magnificent vineyard, steep slope in the middle of the redwoods, just a few rows lost in the fog, the historical mystery about its DNA and origins of the clone. “By the way, this is the 828 clone,” it was whispered. Could it be, the rumored La Tâche clone? Mystère…

The other night over one of our legendary dinners, we opened the first bottle of the 2011 – to be sure that L’Ambroisie was ready, as with only one barrel waiting longer was certainly entertained. Because of the magnificent 2010, our hopes were high but we try to keep a realistic set of expectations, after all, it is the Femme Fatale Pinot Noir that we are talking about! L’Ambroisie 2011 is the true definition why we are so infatuated, obsessed with Burgundies: Amazing exotic nose, earthy aromatics, layers and layers of pure wild cherries, truffles, bacon, peppery black tea, such a long finished of refined tannins – and of course similarities to the great Burgundy, you know, the one with the three-letter acronym. L’Ambroisie 2011 was ready, it is ready now, and will age magnificently for years to come because of its tannic structure, if you can resist.

The 2011 Vintage is one for the ages, a difficult vintage, only proving the rule that Henry Jayer cited “Good wines are made in a great vintage but Great Wines are made in a difficult one.” A very cold growing season culminated by spiking heat meant that management in the vineyard had to be rigorous, precise and selection of clusters impeccable; it also meant very little yield. We also made the decision to age the wine for 16 Months in French Oak to create a few more layers of complexity, a velvety texture and fruit concentration.

In Burgundy, a winemaker may reserve a special barrel for friends and family. They call this barrel Soliste. L’Ambroisie defines the origin and the promise of Soliste. From one barrel only 29 cases of L’Ambroisie were made and are so precious we bottled individually, by hand. Although it hurts to part with so few bottles, sharing this special release with you, the very few that have been loyal supporters of our journey, fills us with joy and pride.

L’Ambroisie 2011. Let the Legend continue.

 

2011 L'Ambroisie Label 2011 Soliste Pinot Noir L'Ambroisie, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

As with the 2010 vintage, Claude was without words, “In the end, once you have tasted L’Ambroisie, I assure you, words cannot adequately describe how you will feel. I have always talked about that our wines are crafted with finesse and elegance so they can be the perfect pairing and marriage with great food, and this is certainly true for L’Ambroisie. But for me, just this once, I will retreat with a bottle and my glass, as a hermit without any distraction to experience it in deep Zen and simple bliss.

There are no tasting notes as I want the wine to speak for itself. But if you insist, please email me at claude@soliste.com and I will be happy to compare notes. It will be fun!!! Don will post the dialogue on our Facebook page to share the experience as if we sat around the same table.”

 

12.8% alc. 29 cases
Sold Out!  $100.00 

 



A Tribute to Didier Dagueneau, The Master of St Andelain.

For the very few that had the privilege to spend time with Didier, he had a profound impact, instilling an uncompromised passion for vineyards and wine making. He single handedly revolutionized Sauvignon Blanc, bringing it to Grand Cru status as any great white Burgundy. Known for his wild mane of unkempt hair and bushy beard (le chien fou), he was an iconoclast among vignerons and sommeliers. Though he had no formal winemaking training, he was infatuated with great Burgundies and used methods uncommon to Pouilly-Fumé, including severe pruning for drastically low yields, hand-harvesting of fruit over several successive passes (tris) through the vineyards, vineyard designate bottling, skin contact, and barrel-fermentation.

Dagueneau's wines steadily became the unchallenged qualitative leaders of Pouilly-Fumé, including Pur Sang, Silex, Buissson Renard, and Asteroide. He stated, “I want to be the best. If you want to be the best, you need the methods and techniques to get you there: Your vines must bear the best grapes; your vinification must be the most rigorous. There are no recipes. It's all in the details of viticulture and all the details of winemaking, the assemblage of little things, 100 details and commitments which makes for the minute differences between a good wine and a great one.”

He also created his own barrels, the most famous being a cigar shape barrel we have adopted at Soliste to craft St Andelain.

Dagueneau's personality was as powerful as his wines. He was incredibly competitive. After a youth spent racing motorcycles, he switched to dog sled racing later in life. His wild, sometimes confrontational style occasionally ruffled feathers among his fellow vignerons, as he tirelessly pushed for higher quality in the appellation. In one sign of how he typically tried to set himself apart from others, he began using the older name of the appellation — Blanc Fumé de Pouilly — on his labels.  “I think Sauvignon is one of the most complex and subtle grapes,” he once said, “But it's very hard to extract that complexity.”

Didier will be missed. Fortunately his son Benjamin is now at the helm and his 2008 are one of the best vintages ever. Long live Didier. (Read more about Didier here)

 

2011 St Andelain Label 2011 St Andelain Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County

Keeping the Dream Alive / A Tour de Force

St Andelain is our homage to the incomparable late Didier Dagueneau. Born from a single organic vineyard, the grapes were destemmed and allowed 36 hours of skin contact to create unique richness and depth. After pressing we barrel fermented and aged for 16 months in Didier’s creation, the Cigar Barrel. There is no malolactic fermentation to preserve acidity, verve and length.

St Andelain is a true expression of Soliste wines: Exceptional vineyards, meticulous grape selection, elegant balance of acidity and aromatics, to create wines of great complexity and finesse.

Tasting Notes
The nose is extremely bright with exotic aromas of stone fruits with a clear whiff of sea brine, oyster shell and flint, spiked with white pepper and chalk. The aromas are followed seamlessly from the nose by a fresh, nervy taste of tart nectarines, guava, apricot and melon giving the wine fantastic vivacity. The middle palette carries on with aromas of pears, white peaches, minerality, and flint, offering an incredibly high pitch, very tense, brisk and long in the mouth. The generous complexity of high tone citrus, grapefruit and kaffir lime peel and razor sharp mineral acidity creates a stunning long, very long soprano finish.

12.5% alc. 223 cases
By Allocation  $ 55.00 

 


 

Introducing Les Cailles Chardonnay  

If you remember the story of “Never Say Never” and the adventure that produced 2010 L’Age D’Or Chardonnay, we made reference to another wine called Les Cailles. We said that if 2010 Les Cailles was not ready to release, we would not. To date, we remain unhappy with the 2010 vintage of this wine and keeping true to our promise, if we don’t love to drink it we won’t sell it. Fortunately, the 2011 vintage is a different story. From a small section of the vineyard we fermented the grapes in concrete eggs from Burgundy for 11 months, then transferred to 100% neutral French oak and aged for an additional 11 months. The combination preserved acidity and liveliness, and we share it with you now.
 

Aromas of Puligny Montrachet

2010 L'Age D'Or Label 2010 Soliste Chardonnay Les Cailles, Russian River Valley

Tasting Notes 
The wine reveals sumptuous aromas of flint, lemon curd and white orchard fruits laced with rose petals and chalk. The soft and smooth aromas are followed seamlessly from the nose by a complex and zesty infusion of buttery pears, apricots and lemon curd, accented by a fresh texture of white peaches and ripe grapefruit. The middle palette carries on with an impressive creamy density; salted buttery caramel intertwined with green tart apple and toasted nuts. The finish is all about precision and acid minerality, it is broad, weighty with a firm acid spine. Finesse, length, and elegance…….Soliste

13.6% alc. 69 cases
By Allocation  $ 50.00 



2013 Soleil Rouge Label 2013 Soleil Rouge Rosé de Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

We always look forward to this time of year to celebrate the arrival of Soleil Rouge – our crisp, vivacious refreshing Rosé with complexity and balanced acidity that, we will promise you, will not last long in our cellars. The only thing better than a chilled glass of Rosé, is another glass of Rosé, followed by a glass of Soliste Pinot Noir. Share the joy.

Soleil Rouge is "Le Vin des Amis" – fresh, lively, served chilled to warm your heart and fill you with joy and conviviality. Enjoy with charcuterie, oysters, or our favorite, fire pit paella. Just a few cases are available – this year we will work even harder to drink them all first!

Tasting Notes:
The Soliste pinot noir heritage is unmistakable: Exotic aromas of Strawberry Rhubarb and freshly crush tart rasp-berries interlaced with citrus peel, followed by the taste of Fraise des Bois (wild strawberries), pomegranate, melon and pink grapefruit. The chalky minerality layered with stone fruit pit and green almond aromatics creates depth and complexity to compliment the bright tangerine acidity and nervy finish. Elegance, finesse, vivacity, freshness...Soliste. Once again we ask, why oh why did we make so little of it?

13.1% alc.  242 cases
Limited $ 22.00 

 



2013 Lune et Soleil Label 2013 Lune et Soleil Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County

Keeping Didier's dream alive.

Lune et Soleil is a true expression of Soliste wines – Exceptional vineyards, meticulous grape selection, elegant balance of acidity and aromatics, to create wines of great complexity and finesse.

Inspired by the great late Didier Dagueneau, Lune et Soleil is crafted from a single organically farmed vineyard. The wine is 100% pressed whole clusters and aged in a 600 Liter barrique of special thick staves to minimize oxygen transfer and there is no malolactic fermentation to preserve acidity, verve and length.

Tasting Notes
The wine reveals elegant aromas of exotic white flowers, citrus blossoms, lemongrass and peppery verbena, with hints of tropical fruit, melon and green almond. The rich and delicate tropical aromas are followed seamlessly from the nose by a fresh taste of pineapple, guava, lychee and waxy fruit giving the wine fantastic vivacity. The middle palette shows great minerality and finesse, with focused aromas of stone fruit and spicy kaffir lime, moving into a long razor sharp, Sancerre like finish of flint, granite river stones and grapefruit peel.

12.2% alc.  968 cases
Limited $ 25.00 

 


 

 

Never Say Never Again...

Soliste - Chardonnay? It can't be...

Claude and I love to collaborate on our newsletters – but this once, I felt compelled to write you directly so I can openly share this tale:

For those that have not yet had the opportunity to meet Claude in person, well, he’s a force of nature. If you found yourself together with him and our sommelier friends, at a long dinner with endless wine, great food, and compelling conversation, you would stumble out, fuzzy, but definitely clear on a few things:

wine_drop Time to recuperate, reflect, and ask, “When is the next one!?”
wine_drop Claude is as generous sharing his opinions as he is sharing his cellar.
wine_drop His strongest, indelible, Gallic opinion, just bordering on religious fervor is that Cabernet is an evil weed and that Bordeaux/Napa Cabs are wines for trophy hunters. As he frequently says, “Bordeaux are for bankers and Burgundy is for poets.” You really have to be there to hear this rant and the depth of unwavering passion for his doctrine.
wine_drop Claude is completely and utterly infatuated with Burgundies. He wistfully recalls his youth at the table with old vignerons and his family and how much this has molded and shaped his life. With his eyes clouding over, I can hear him saying, “Just to think this small stretch of road in the center of rural France can arguably produce the greatest red (from one cépage, Pinot Noir) and the greatest white (from one cépage, Chardonnay) for centuries is just peerless – and the diversity and complexity between villages and vineyards just meters apart. Amazing!”
wine_drop To say that Claude is stubborn is an understatement. The Grand Canyon is a hole. The Sun is warm. Since the time we met and first talked about wine, he refuses to acknowledge that California makes Chardonnay, much less that we attempt. My ears ring with, “They are not wines, they are replacements for cocktails.” He boasts, “They are like buttery pop corns soaked in oak trees, it is a versatile beverage, the bartender can use for martinis when the vermouth is fini.” Without missing a beat he begins to name the wineries, but since this is where French and Japanese part, I am polite and will move on.
wine_drop We should make Chardonnay” I say. “Over my dead body,” he intones over and over again. If we can’t make it lean, elegant, with great acidity and balance, let’s not even try. “Come and try this Montrachet with me and let the urge pass,” he bribes me again…
wine_drop But time is the friend of wine and our tenacity. Our success with Sauvignon Blanc and especially with St Andelain weakened his resolute stance. We agreed to make Chardonnay together – Soliste style: A three-year commitment, a fabulous, well-established vineyard in the Russian River Valley, and trials with different vinification and aging including importing Nomblot concrete eggs from Burgundy, 600L thick stave barrels from Taransaud, 16 month aging… Let’s just say when we go in together, we go all in together – it’s an expensive experiment. We like to think of it as our own stimulus package.

Since you are good friends of Soliste, I wanted to share some of the background and insights to this journey. For anyone that truly understands wine and winemaking, it is temperamental (French influence, no doubt), tedious, and nerve-racking. It is so much like raising children – the highs, lows, worries, and ultimately, pride. And no two are alike, yet we love them all the same.

In 2010 we began by crafting two different lots of Chardonnay. Claude felt that using the concrete eggs, an ancestral aging vessel that replicates a Greek amphora, would impart minerality and less oak. We call this Les Cailles. The balance we aged in French oak for 16 months, and call L’Age D’Or. Today, Les Cailles is still closed in, so it stays in our cellars until IF and when it is ready…or not.


L’Age D’Or  
I wish you could have been there to seen the smile and Gallic smirk on Claude’s face when we tasted L’Age D’Or a few weeks ago. Up until this point, when we would check progress, let’s just say the cellar got colder, “See, I told you, Never.” It’s time to turn this back over to Claude, as you, know, he has an opinion:
 

2010 L'Age D'Or Label 2010 Soliste Chardonnay L'Age D'Or, Russian River Valley

The best surprises are when you expect them the least. A few weeks ago, when I opened a bottle of L’Age D’Or to see where it was, I also opened a bottle of Francois & Antoine Jobard, Meursault 1er cru Blagny. At Soliste, we have benchmarks to measure ourselves. L’Age D’Or had awakened, in a fashion that conjures all the finesse, minerality, elegance, and acidity that I was expecting from a white burgundy – but it also had this undeniable Russian River DNA, tart apple and quince with very faint vanilla fat in the middle palate. Whoaaaa…Never say never again.

Tasting Notes 
The wine reveals elegant aromas of baked apple and pears, vanilla, and grapefruit mingled with toasted grains and seashells. The soft and smooth aromas are followed seamlessly from the nose by a complex infusion of apple tarte tatin, quince, and lemon curd, subtly silken texture with hint of black tea leaves, sea brine, and chalk. The middle palate carries on with an impressive density, salted buttery caramel intertwined with tart citrus zest and exotic spices. The finish is all about width and acid minerality, spiked with spicy kafir lime peel, stone fruit pit, and bitter almonds. Class and elegance…Soliste.

13.3% alc. 340 cases
By Allocation  $ 50.00 

 


Sonatera 2009 Vintage. The Legacy.

A fortunate few were able to stock their cellar with the stunning 2009 Soliste Pinot Noir L’Espérance (sold out).  We are now releasing the next extraordinary Pinot Noir of the vintage – Sonatera Vineyard, our oldest child.

SINGLE VINEYARD AND SINGLE CLONE – MonoClone®

When the Planets align
Mother Nature was extremely kind in 2009, creating the perfect storm for us to produce our first MonoClone™ pinot noirs. The 2009 Vintage is a revelation, an epiphany; it is also a commitment to produce much fewer cases to craft extraordinary pinots that exemplify their identity and sense of place, also called Terroir. In 2009, we pushed our commitment much further, focusing on the single clone that would be in perfect harmony with vineyard site, and the results are simply stunning and magical. This is why we make Pinot Noir.

This commitment means we must sacrifice production to craft the purest and most elegant pinot noir in order to express the identity and terroir of each vineyard and each clone. The exquisite 2009 Sonatera is the result of a perfect growing season, flawless harvest and our commitment to harness the purity and complexity of one clone from one vineyard. This is the Pinot Noir that started Soliste and has a distinctive character that says, “Sonatera.”

Sonatera 2009 is an iron fist in a velvet glove, pure Sonatera. One for the ages.

Sonatera 2009, Pinot Nirvana.

 

2009 Sonatera Label 2009 Soliste Pinot Noir Sonatera Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Intense luminosity of dark boysenberries, crushed cassis robe, reflections of amethyst gem.

Le Nez / The Nose
The nose starts wide and darkly fruited, muscular yet coiled (dark cherries, plums, blackberries), slowly begins to envelop you while adding faint coffee notes, licorice and black olives. Layers of Balinese black pepper, damp sous-bois (forest floor), accentuated by vanilla bean, typical to Sonatera. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more virile and muscular with intense dark fruit, especially cherries and chocolate, black truffles and elegant toasted oak.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate carries on the theme, filling your mouth with an abundance of dark fruit dimension and complexity, matched only by the velvety, but dense texture. Sonatera is a spicy mouthful of cherry and plum compote, violets, licorice, black olive and earthy truffles. The mid palate is pure Sonatera, carrying on the black fruits (caramelized plums) with fatty vanilla and exotic black pepper. The tannins are very polished and well integrated to enhance the spice and herbal undertones, which creates a sense of weight and fattiness. The finish is more reflective of the bright acidity found in red fruit, which bring in harmonious and refreshing aromatics of raspberries and cranberries laced with coffee and chocolate. Powerful elegance.

13.4% alc. 369 cases
By Allocation  $ 75.00 

 


Out of the Shadows Syrah: Beauty and the Beast

Northern Rhone comes to Sonoma

When Don & I visited the Northern Rhone in the cold winter of 2009 we tasted memorable Syrahs from the masters at la fête de la Côte Rôtie in Ampuis. Escorted by our friend and talented chef-owner of La Folie in San Francisco, Roland Passot, the afternoon became surreal when we were invited to Monsieur Guigal’s private cellar for a degustation we will not soon forget. It lasted hours but felt like just minutes.

Monsieur Guigal became a generous educator that day unveiling decades of wine making details and secrets to us; It was an epiphany and we certainly got a lesson on Syrah from masters of their craft, refining this superb cépage into powerful but elegant wines since Roman times. We took it all in and once back home went on our Soliste quest to seek an outstanding vineyard that would match what we had seen and learned in Ampuis. Our tenacious nature rewarded us when we came upon a stunning Syrah vineyard in Bennett Valley. Our first release of the 2008 vintage was an instant success aided by our commitment to age this superb Syrah for more than 22 months in barriques in the tradition of the Northern Rhone masters.

The 2009 vintage is absolutely spectacular – it certainly benefits from our experience of the 2008 vintage and also from a perfect growing season with long hang time to create refined aromatic of exotic depth. This Syrah is a muscular, powerful wine with trademark Soliste elegance, length and balance. It has the finesse of a great Côte Rôtie or Hermitage but the animal power of a Cornas. It will also have the ability to age for decades.

Out of the Shadows comes from a sliver of a vineyard in the Bennett Valley hills. The site has a western exposure, gravelly soil and sits on the side of a small mountain. This provides excellent drainage, even sun exposure, and a cool climate. The vineyard has a breathtaking view of the Santa Rosa plain and is meticulously farmed.

 

2008 Shadows Label 2009 Soliste Syrah Out of the Shadows, Bennett Valley

Tasting Notes:

Le Regard / The Look
Deep cassis with a dark garnet robe, a classic Syrah.

Le Nez / The Nose
Elegant aromatics of violets, cassis, blackberry and peppery wild plums (quetches) layered with licorice, bacon and high herbal pitch. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more voluptuous, conveying a tremendous sense of power, superbly focused and complex adding coco nibs, espresso and fennel top.

Degustation / The Taste
Up front the wine is a muscular concentration of cassis, peppery plums and dark blackberries, reminiscent of a sun dried berry compote, interlaced with licorice, Balinese black pepper, black olive and fennel. This would be a Beast of a wine if the tannins had not been tamed by our commitment to age the wine for 22 months in large barrels. The middle palate becomes velvety, yet incredibly rich, laced with fatty vanilla and wet granite minerality. The smooth tannins linger with exotic spices and bitter chocolate and coffee beans. Phenomenal acidity and balance add to the wine liveliness and poise. The Finish is long, elegant, and effortless. It is a powerful caldron of tart cassis, caramelized blackberries, tobacco leaves and high herbal tones of rosemary, mint, eucalyptus creating length, complexity and finesse.

Out of the Shadows 2009 is a Powerful Beast tamed by Soliste’s commitment to craft elegant wines. Merci Monsieur Guigal for your generosity, passion and a day we will never forget.

14.1% alc.   223 cases
By Allocation  $ 75.00 

 


 

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