Monday, September 20, 2010

Soliste 'Soleil Rouge' Rose of Pinot Noir 2009

Claude from Soliste winery came in recently and had dinner at the bar with his lovely wife. It's always a pleasure to see him and anyone, really, who is responsible for making wonderful wines here in California. Or anywhere, for that matter.

As we were discussing the 2010 vintage and its expected results on the wines yet unharvested, I began spewing my love and adoration for his 2009 Rose of Pinot Noir which we have been drinking all summer long. It has definitely been my "go-to" this year. And when has my "go-to" ever been a California rose...?! I love you, Claude!

They do also make some pretty amazing Pinot Noir (red) as well. Very small quantities of two labels. The L'Esperance was my personal favorite in the 2007 vintage - at least for immediate drinking and gratification at the restaurant level. They are very Burgundian in style, but respectful of the fruit of California, commanding elegance and refinement of the grape in a way achieved only by the masters of the grape. (Did I just write that...? A little less wine while blogging...)

As for the delicious 2009 Soliste 'Soleil Rouge' Rose of Pinot Noir, it clocks in at a meager 13.1% alcohol and hails from the Sonoma Coast. As you would expect from French-influence, the color is barely a shade darker than Tempier and every bit as elegant. Perhaps even crisper acidity. The only way you'd suspect it was a New World rose is when the copious amount of ripe red fruits well up on the finish. Crisp strawberry, raspberry, even peach skin, a hint of cranberry, and a whisper of what tastes of caramel. It has the acidity on the attack and mid-palate of an Old World wine. This is a fantastic domestic rose and certainly one of the best I have ever had from California.

I highly recommend you seek out these wines. They are currently working on some additions to the two labels. A new, third, Pinot Noir and a couple of extended-aged Syrahs (a la the La La's from Cote Rotie) that I am highly excited about. And the rose, of course. Lots to discover and they are truly committed to expressing the "truth" in the wines. That is, the character of the vineyard, the nature of the grape, the balance of minimalist winemaking, and dammit - just awesome wine!!! These are super-small production so the mailing list may be the only way to get your hands on them. Believe me, it's worth it!

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