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La Sauvage: One Barrique, 44 Month Élevage

Out of the Shadows: Beauty and the Beast

Out of the Shadows Syrah: Beauty and the Beast

Rooted in Northern Rhone, Harvested in Sonoma

When Don & I visited the Northern Rhone in the cold winter of 2008 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.

Claude GuigalMonsieur 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, followed by the spectacular 2009 vintage. These superb Syrah reflect our commitment in the aging process, of over 31 months in barriques in the tradition of the Northern Rhone masters.

The 2010 vintage is absolutely spectacular – it certainly benefits from our experience of the 2008 & 2009 vintages and also from a very cool 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 also has the ability to age for decades.

Vintage Notes at a Glance
2010 was a damp and cool growing season. We harvested at first light and field sorted. This vintage was gently destemmed with some whole cluster reserved. Following a brief cold soak, smooth fermentation of small lots with ritual manual punch downs was complete before barreling into 450 liter Barriques for aging.

Our Syrah 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.


2010 La Sauvage  Label La Sauvage, A Very Rare Release

One Barrique, 50% Whole Cluster, 44 Month Élevage

From, our first vintage of Syrah in 2008 we held a special barrel for an additional year of aging. The wine was hand bottled and La Sauvage was born – never to be sold, but given as special gifts for our friends and supporters.

La Sauvage, like our other exclusive single-barrel wines, is made only in vintages that we believe are exceptional. We did not select one in 2009, nor in 2011, and only time will tell if others will be found.

In 2010, we singled out a unique barrique with the purest aromas and structure. The wine was aged for 44 months (nearly four years) until the Beast was tamed. La Sauvage is extraordinary in complexity and depth; a great paradox of muscular aromas and silky texture. Only 200 of the 588 bottles will be released now and we will cellar the rest. Please check your allocation to acquire La Sauvage.

14.1% alc.   588 bottles
By Extremely Limited Allocation  $ 125 


2008 Shadows Label 2010 Out of the Shadows Syrah, Bennett Valley

Tasting Notes:

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

Le Nez / The Nose
Pronounced aromatics of eucalyptus, menthol, cassis, blackberry layered with roast meat drippings. 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, licorice, and wild herbal tones.

Degustation / The Taste
Up front the wine is a muscular concentration of cassis, peppery plums and caramelized blueberries, with layers of dried fruits, interlaced with licorice, black pepper, smoked bacon, 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 over 31 months in large barrels. The middle palate becomes velvety, yet incredibly rich, with a firm structure, laced with fatty vanilla, dried herbs and wet stone minerality. The smooth tannins linger with exotic spices, bitter chocolate, and coffee beans. Phenomenal acidity and balance give the wine phenomenal freshness and lift. The finish is long, seductive, and effortless. It is a classic Syrah; a powerful caldron of dark fruit, wood-smoke, licorice, garrigue herbs, black olives, flint, and fruit pits – creating length, complexity, and finesse.

Out of the Shadows 2010 is a powerful beast tamed by Soliste’s commitment to craft elegant wines, perfect for our legendary nights around the table with our friends and family. Bring on the suckling pig!!!!

14.1% alc.   139 cases
Available  $ 75
Magnum 1.5L $225

2014 Soleil Rouge Label 2014 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: Elegant pale peach color in the glass, the nose delivers exotic aromas of red currants, rose petals and floral scents. The palate is very high pitch, lifted with fruit pit interlaced with wild strawberries, red currants, pomegranate accented by a bright chalky minerality. The secondary palate is very delicate with tart raspberries, melon, spice and herbal tones. The mid-palate gives way to a razor sharp balanced finish, layered with wet stones, blood orange and kafir lime leaves as the silky texture and the pleasant freshness remains precise.

12.5% alc.  214 cases

Available $ 22

Sonatera 2011 & Forêt 2012

Our 10th Anniversary Release

Where it All Began
It was a short 10 years ago that we began the journey that is Soliste. Our dream, our vision was and remains constant: to craft compelling wines that we proudly share with friends and family. In that spirit, we are proud to release the 2011 vintage of our first Pinot Noir, Sonatera Vineyard, along with the acclaimed Forêt Pinot Noir from the stellar 2012 vintage.

Our fascination with the great red Burgundies comes from the singular aromatics and complexities that are born in unique vineyards but a few kilometers apart. It is why we undertook the challenge and risk to focus on each specific clone of Pinot Noir that is best in harmony with each vineyard site – our Single Vineyard, Single Clone, and Single Cooperate wines – MonoClone®.

Sonatera is one of those unique vineyard sites that truly exemplifies the Soliste philosophy and style. The hilltop vineyard has three different exposures, facing north, south, and west. This geography funnels brisk marine winds over the vines reducing vigor, extending the ripening period of the grapes, and allowing distinctive aromatics to develop. Once you have tasted Sonatera Pinot Noir, you will always be able to identify its origins.

Forêt comes from a magnificent secluded vineyard near Occidental. The hillside vineyard has a northeastern exposure, a very steep slope, and is in the middle of a spectacular redwood forest. Just 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the western coastal range, is perhaps the most visually stunning vineyard which we are entrusted – the depth of aromatics and spice in Forêt is a pure reflection of this truly unique vineyard’s site, slope, climate, and clone.

In French, there is no word for “winemaker” – only Vigneron; The one that tends the vines. Great Winemakers have a deep respect and understanding for what the vineyards and nature have magically produced. It is for that reason that great wines should not be overly manipulated but be a harmonious reflection of the vineyard site, the climate, the clone, and tenacious vine management. He is the humble shepherd, not an Alchemist. After all, a beautiful face does not need much make-up.

Each vintage year present its unique challenges. In 2011 it was a damp and cool growing season that produced spectacular but very small yields. In the generous and gentle 2012 vintage, controlling yield tested our skills. Both of these wines exemplify the Soliste style and its paradox: Elegant yet intense; focused and complex, powerful and refined. These two pinots embody the dramatic difference between the northern Gevrey Chambertain from his more southern relative, Vosne Romanée – both born from the same family but raised as distinct cousins of their own character and personality. Vive la Différence!

2011 Sonatera label 2011 Sonatera Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Intense depth and luminosity of dark boysenberries and blueberries showing density and structure, with pure reflections of deep amethyst gem.

Le Nez / The Nose
The nose starts with refined earthy scents, musty forest floor (sous-bois) and wet mushrooms, which lingers into darkly fruited (dark cherries, spiced plums, blueberries), very sensual and exotic. Then slowly the aromas begin to envelop you while adding notes of cardamom, truffles, and tea must. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more voluptuous and muscular with intense dark fruit, the always present dark wild cherries, laced with oriental spices and cocoa nibs. There is a lingering scent of caramelized blueberries, vanilla bean, sandalwood, typical to Sonatera’s terroir.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers extraordinary micro texture and depth with layers of exotic spice and black tea, filling your mouth with a refined concentration of voluptuous dark and blue fruit spiked with toasted sourdough bread. The mid-palate is herbaceous and spicy which elevates the wine as it is layered with a silky caramelized blueberry and plum compote, violets, licorice, exotic spices, and earthy truffles (The power and charm of Gevrey Chambertain). The texture is pure Sonatera, very velvety with fatty vanilla and exotic black pepper, creating a rich and lingering density. The tannins are extremely polished, yet the wine has amazing verve from high herbal tones and exotic spices. The finish is more reflective of the bright acidity found in the cool 2011 vintage, which brings elevated aromatics of sandalwood, earthiness, and exotic spices. Sonatera 2011, superbly focused, a pure reflection of the site, exotic and refined power.

13.0% alc. 141 cases produced
By Allocation 750ml $85
Magnum 1.5L $250


2011 Foret label 2012 Forêt Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Stunning depth and clarity, deep ruby density, extremely unctuous and refined.

Le Nez / The Nose
Opulent aromas of sweet caramelized wild cherries, plums, and sous-bois (forest floor) interlaced with fennel tones, dusty rose petals, espresso grounds, and cocoa nibs. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more focused and herbal, with dark cherry compote aromatics spiked with anise, superbly elegant and powerful, adding bitter chocolate and redwood needles.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers a decadent explosion of blackberry/pomegranate compote spiked with bitter caramel. Stewed blueberries in tight layers of coriander, cardamom and black tea, elevate the front palate. This is a wine of dense character, firmly structured with beautifully perfumed fruit. The mid-palate is positively earthy (oh, Vosne Romanée here you come), musty sous-bois (forest floor), mushrooms, and fresh herbal aromatics, accented by elegant wood tones. The tannins are luxuriously enveloped in this velvety fruit ripeness, which gives way to bright fresh fruit natural acidity of tart raspberries creating a focused long finish. Forêt is an ethereal Pinot Noir that will age magnificently.

14.0% alc. 241 cases produced
By Allocation 750ml $85
Magnum 1.5L $300

and so it begins...


Single Vineyard, Single Clone, Single Barrel - MonoClone®

Learning from the best in Chambolle

On our last visit to Burgundy, Don and I were privileged to spend time with Francois Bertheau, who has been a great favorite of mine for crafting the most elegant and complex Chambolle, especially his Bonnes Mares. This was a long day of great food and extraordinary wines, but the most compelling memory was the tasting of the 2007 vintage in barrels, which were simply intoxicating. Francois was especially generous with his time as we had a thousand questions and he revealed without hesitation what he believes makes his wines so compelling. One of the key component is that Francois will use large 600 liter barrels from a specific forest and tonnellerie (cooperage). He also extends the aging to allow for the wine to develop exotic aromatics and to round the shoulders, creating wines of great complexity, lace, and silk.

We took note. Years later, Don and I still speak of that magical day that was truly an epiphany for us, especially after we opened some of the 2007 Bonnes Mares and Les Amoureuses that we were so fortunate to taste in barrel and enjoyed once bottled. Simply put, they are why we make Pinot Noir.

In 2012 as the planets aligned, we decided that the time was right to put that “Bertheau” philosophy to the test. From the vineyard nestled in the redwood forest, we selected the very best grapes through multiple passes at harvest and with 50% whole cluster fermentation. We aged the wine in ONE 600 liter barrel, with this vintage we felt we it could age for an extended time…we waited, AND WAITED…for 28 Months…to create SOLITAIRE.

There are very few times one can feel truly lucky and privileged that their craft can stand along with the very best. SOLITAIRE confirms all of our expectations and embodies our commitment and passion to create compelling Pinot Noirs. SOLITAIRE originates from humble admiration of the magnificent, peerless wines of BERTHEAU and we thank Francois for showing us the way.

SOLITAIRE is simply magical, if you have the chance to taste this wine blind next to a Bonnes Mares Grand Cru from Bertheau, it will be quite a day!!!! I simply can not believe how amazing the similitudes are, especially being from opposite side of the world. Our goals have always focused on being in the conversation with Great Burgundies and SOLITAIRE is the reward – 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 commitment to pick over multiple days in the middle of the night to gather the very best clusters, the search for the perfect barrel, but the best part will be in the glass, when you really taste this wine.

When we opened the first bottle the other night over one of our legendary dinners next to a 2007 Bertheau Bonnes Mares, we were speechless and a little confused of which one was in which glass. I thought that I may have switched the glasses in error. Then we smiled, we smiled a lot. Since SOLITAIRE was born from One 600 liter barrel and we also believe that this Pinot Noir will age magnificently, we also decided that we would bottle half of it in Magnums. Big barrel. Big bottles. Makes sense to us.

In Burgundy, a winemaker may reserve a special barrel for friends and family. They call this barrel Soliste. SOLITAIRE defines the origin and the promise of Soliste. From one barrel only 39 cases of 750s and 144 Magnums of Solitaire were produced. 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.



2012 Solitaire label 2012 SOLITAIRE Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Exquisite depth and luminosity showing density and structure, raspberry and boysenberry gemlike in the glass, like a dark scintillating ruby.

Le Nez / The Nose
The nose is brimming with seductive red fruits, intense and spiced with earthy minerality. Exotic aromas of wild cherries and raspberries soaked in Kirsch interlaced with herbal essences, violets, toasted pistachios, and marzipan. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more focused and dense with dark cherry compote aromatics, sous-bois ( forest floor) accented with a marrow like sense of meaty richness that fills the air. Stunning!!!

Degustation / The Taste
Pronounced concentration of dark wild cherry and blueberry compote lifted with cloves, anise, and cardamom. This is classic Chambolle; the mid palate delivers an elegant silky and refined texture, very exotic and elastic, filling the mouth with caramelized plums and fresh herbal aromatics, all in a superb balance and harmony. Positively refined in texture the smooth tannins have clearly benefited from the extended barrel aging, accented with bright natural acidity of tart pomegranate and cranberries. Great length on the finish…this Pinot will age magnificently as the aromas will simply become more voluptuous with time.

13.5% alc. 65 cases produced
Extremely Limited Allocation 750ml $100
Magnum 1.5L $225


An extraordinary, extremely limited Pinot Noir release

2012 MonoClone® Horizontal

L’Espérance, Nouveau Monde, and L’Ambroisie

“Vintage of the Decade”
So much has been written about the 2012 growing season. Will the wines deliver and stack up to the expectations?  True, it was ideal climatic conditions for Pinot Noir in every sense of the word. We have often said that the most compelling wines come from difficult growing seasons. These are the years where careful vineyard management and a deft touch in the cellar shine through in compelling wines which was reflected in our 2011 vintage. The temptation with a stellar vintage like 2012 is to be greedy and not manage the yield aggressively since there is an abundance of perfect clusters on the vines. Discipline and yield management is at a premium. We feel that the greatest opportunity to reap the benefit of such nature’s gift is by harvesting vineyards on multiple days and passes. This commitment gives proper time for the stems of each cluster to develop nutty and toasted aromatics that will be pressed whole to help create wines of great depth, spice and complexity.

We have been waiting for such a vintage for our MonoClone Pinot Noir. This is the reward.

In normal circumstances, we release each Pinot Noir on their own time lines at their Apex so you can experience them at their best. As we tasted the wines, it became clear that we had a rare opportunity to release the Big 3 – our most elegant, rare wines – together. This way you can truly enjoy and taste the depth and how different each vineyard and clone are from each other, yet all have the Soliste pedigree.


L’Espérance 2012: Chambolle, Les Amoureuses, the inspiration, the quest, the result!

The exotic concentrated aromatics of the 2012 are the result of our desire to harness the purity and layers after layers of 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 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.

2012 L'Esperance Label 2012 Soliste Pinot Noir L'Espérance, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Extraordinary Ruby clarity of freshly pressed raspberries and groseilles (red currants) with deep gemlike luminosity.

Le Nez / The Nose
A clear expression of Morey St Denis/Chambolle clone (Dijon 115): Impressive concentration of ripe black cherries, raspberry liqueur aromas layered with musty sous-bois (forest floor), refined scents of rose petals, exotic spices, cardamom, peppery herbals (mint) interlaced with white pepper. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more refined, superbly pure, and complex adding caramel and black tea must – L’Espérance 2012 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 black cherries and raspberries, an intensity that is only matched by the refined silky but peppery texture. This intense and pure fruit compote leads to silky-textured, pure and beautifully delineated minerals, wet granite, earthy truffles, black tea must, cardamom, and herbal aromatics (mint, fennel). These aromas culminate in a driving, tension –filled, and gorgeously harmonious long finish.

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. This amazing vintage reminds me of my favorite Chambolle, “ Les Amoureuses.”

13.1% alc. 214 cases
By Allocation  $ 85 


Nouveau Monde 2012: Pommard meet Corton, the metamorphosis of Elegance into Power.

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 Corton and Pommard.

2011 Nouveau Monde Label 2012 Soliste Pinot Noir Nouveau Monde, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Gemlike ruby luminosity with vibrant red currant crystalline; a Cote de Beaune classic.

Le Nez / The Nose
The nose is loaded with pure red fruits (raspberries, wild strawberries, pomegranate) layered with violets, exotic spices interlaced with black tea leaves; brilliantly fresh and vivacious.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers extraordinary verve with a compelling concentration of Groseilles ( red currants) and strawberry rhubarb compote, silkened with fatty vanilla. This is a wine of Grande Finesse, velvety, focused and chiseled. It carries on with great abundance of bright red fruits (red tart cherries), rose petal and salinity. The mid-palate is all lace; refined tannins are accented by earthy sous-bois (forest floor), wet stone, and toasted herbal aromatics, all in great balance and harmony. Positively silken in texture, the crystalline acidity of freshly crushed tart raspberries laced with tea must produces high pitch length and a finish seldom witnessed.

13.1% alc. 114 cases
By Allocation $ 85 


L’Ambroisie 2012: Legendary Vintage, Legendary wine. The grail.

This exceptional vintage captures all the Alchemy that becomes Great Pinot Noir, the intoxicating nose, powerful yet refined with layers of spice, sous-bois, truffles and wild cherry, amazing length and complex finish (if there is one). Magical!!!

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…

2012 L'Ambroisie Label 2012 Soliste Pinot Noir L'Ambroisie, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

With the 2012 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 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.”

13.5% alc. 69 cases
Sold Out $100 


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)


2012 St Andelain Label 2012 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: If Raveneau had made Sauvignon Blanc…

Le Regard / The Look
Superbly crystalline, elegant pale golden tones faded into minerality that sparkles, expressing a wine of great verve and leanness.

Le Nez / The Nose
Aromas of marine oyster shells, sea weed and fleur de sel, with secondary layers of elderflowers, passion fruit, and kefir lime – Reminding Claude of the winter cold ocean spray in Brittany over the oyster beds.

Degustation / The Taste
Very refined and elegant; classic oyster shell laced with lean lime notes, green pineapple rind, gooseberry, and white currants. The middle palate is all about a seductive yet firm texture – the brightness of the fruit takes hold in the mouth, incrementally building and expanding from cheek to cheek with layers of green tea, sea brine, baked apple, cream of sweet white corn, and hay. As with our Lune et Soleil, the high pitch acidy creates a razor sharp finish of lime and grapefruit peel, laced with saline minerality and stone fruits.

St Andelain is a defining moment for Soliste: Elegant, full of verve, exotic, precise….Soliste!

12.9% alc. 212 cases
By Allocation  $ 55 



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
Sold Out  $ 50 

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
Available $ 25 




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.

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:

2011 L'Age D'Or Label 2011 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: Memories of Puligny Montrachet, Les Folatieres 

Le Regard / The Look
Crystalline purity of a Citrine gemstone, with golden depth of straw, highlighted by pale green tones.

Le Nez / The Nose
Aromas of flint and chiseled minerality, jumps right out of the glass, with secondary layers of a bouquet of white flowers, green apples and Mirabelle – Very focused and linear.

Degustation / The Taste
The palate is refined and tightly wound, with layers of tangerine, pear, white peach, acacia blossom, and white pepper that complement the round citrus and chalk aromas. The middle palate is deliciously floral, fine-boned and elegant, with layers of marzipan, yellow plums, and quince. This stretches out beautifully across the palate becoming minerally & citrus peel infused into a forcefully explosive finish that seems to go on and on.

Finesse, length, elegance, seduction…Soliste.

13.6% alc. 197 cases
Available  $ 50 


Sonatera 2010 Vintage, The Keystone of Soliste.
Memories Of Chambertin.


Where it all Began
Sonatera is one of those unique vineyard sites that truly exemplifies the Soliste philosophy and style. Sonatera is a family vineyard owned by Beth’s sister, Debbie and her husband Marne who have given us the very best through dedication and commitment to the land. The hilltop vineyard has three different exposures, facing north, south, and west. This geography funnels brisk marine winds over the vines reducing vigor, extending the ripening period of the grapes, and allowing distinctive aromatics to develop. Once you have tasted Sonatera Pinot Noir, you will always be able to identify its origins.

The 2010 vintage is an absolute benchmark of complexity – pure wild cherry aromatics, truffles and natural bright acidity. It is our commitment to produce a small number of cases of extraordinary pinots that exemplify their identity and sense of place – their Terroir – and there is no better example than Sonatera. In 2010, just as in 2009, we pushed this commitment much further, focusing on the single clone that would be in perfect harmony with the vineyard site, aging it in barrels from a single provenance. The results are simply stunning and magical. This is why we make Pinot Noir.

The intense and voluptuous 2010 Sonatera is the result of extreme attention to detail stemming from our vineyard management team’s rigorous practices, flawless harvest at Midnight, and our commitment to harness the purity and complexity of one clone from one vineyard. This is the Pinot Noir that launched Soliste and has unparalleled character that spells, “Sonatera.”

Sonatera 2010 embodies all the Complexity, Power, Depth and Soul of a great Gevrey Chambertin, layered with the unique fruit and spice aromatic of this one of a kind Sonoma vineyard site. This Pinot Noir will generate great emotion and deep conversation for years to come. A Classic.


2010 Sonatera Label 2010 Soliste Pinot Noir Sonatera Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

Tasting Notes 

Le Regard / The Look
Intense depth and luminosity of dark boysenberries showing density and structure, crushed black cherry robe, with pure reflections of amethyst gem.

Le Nez / The Nose
The nose starts wide, generous and darkly fruited, very sensual and exotic (dark cherries, spiced plums, blackberries), then slowly begins to envelop you while adding notes of cardamom, earthiness, truffles and black pepper. Layers of black tea, caramelized wild cherries and vanilla bean follow-typical to Sonatera. As the wine evolves in the glass or decanter, the aromatics become more virile and muscular with intense dark fruit, the always-present dark wild cherries, laced with oriental spices and cocoa nibs. A lingering aroma of black truffles and elegant toasted French oak accentuates the depth of the wine .

Degustation / The Taste
The palate delivers extraordinary texture and depth with layers of exotic spice and black tea, filling your mouth with an abundance of voluptuous dark fruit and complexity, matched only by the velvety, but dense texture. Sonatera is a spicy mouthful of wild cherry and plum compote, violets, licorice, exotic spices and earthy truffles (The power and charm of Gevrey Chambertain). The mid-palate is pure Sonatera, carrying on the black fruit (caramelized plums and cherries) with fatty vanilla and exotic black pepper. The tannins are extremely polished and well integrated to enhance the spice and herbal under-tones, which creates a sense of weight and fattiness. The finish is more reflective of the bright acidity found in red fruit such as raspberries, which bring in harmonious and refreshing aromatics of tart straw-berry rhubarb laced with coffee ground and cocoa nibs. Powerful elegance. Irresistible.

13.3% alc. 173 cases
By Allocation  $ 75 




Our wines are available under allocation by subscribing to our Mail List. Soliste is also available from our restaurant partners where it is best enjoyed with their extraordinary cuisine and good friends.

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