Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery
2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
EXCLUSIVE PRE-RELEASE ALLOCATION:
Through TOP SECRET negotiations, The Wine Spies have been able to secure the first and exclusive pre-release allocation of today’s impressive selection from Sol Rouge Vineyards and Winery. Did we mention that this wine won a Double Gold Medal and tied for Top Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2010 San Francisco Wine Competition, beating Cakebread, Heitz, Martha’s Vineyard, Rombauer, Diamond Selection, Turnbull, Black Label and ZD Reserve among others?
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection is made from fruit from some of Napa Valley’s best vineyards. The same vineyards of the Cult Cab’s, but through TOP SECRET negotiations with the winery we are able to bring you today’s superior wine at an equally superior price.
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT:
Subscribe to our Daily Dispatch (above) and you’ll always know what our Top Secret coupon code of the day is. Every day we issue a new members-only code that entitles you to have Ground Shipping included on orders of six or more and, sometimes, an added discount!
Mission Codename: Exclusive Endeavors
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure and exclusive pre-release allocation form our friends at Sol Rouge.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Bryan Kane & Jill Brothers
We all love Napa’s Cult Cabs, with many receiving the top ratings, awards and accolades, we deserved in every sense of the word, but at prices of $100-200, and often times much more, the are difficult to justify in these difficult economic times. This is the motivation behind our mission today. We’re not quite sure how he did it, but Bryan Kane of Sol Rouge Vineyard and Winery has again acquired limited allocations of some of amazing fruit from the 50+ year old Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon on Howell Mountain used previously by Randy Dunn, of Dunn Vineyard, in his Howell Mountain bottling as well as some Napa Valley fruit shared by one of the eight “Cult Cabernet” producers.
In today’s selection, we’ve been negotiating with the winery to be able to offer you this exception, and extremely small production wine, at an unbelievable one-day only price. Once this wine gets out into the mainstream, it will be gone fast. This is your chance to stock up for your own Cult Cellar Collection.
Only 175 cases produced, 50% less than the highly allocated 2006 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine will most likely be sold out on release, this may be your only chance to purchase this wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense, deep and dark purple with a barely clear dark core that shows clear streaks of ruby and garnet when held to the light. Along the edges the color remains dense and when swirled thin legs of varying speeds descend deliberately to the wine below.
Smell – Rich and redolent with expressive aromas of red and black fruit, specifically wild berry with balanced notes of oak, licorice, earthy pine and floral violets and spicy pepper.
Feel – Smooth and elegant, this full-bodied wine has powder fine but firm tannins that soften as this wine opens up. expansive and mouth coating, and for a young wine, it is remarkably well developed with exceptional balance that is enhanced by subtle acidity and dark mineral notes..
Taste – Well integrated and bold flavors of wild berries and dark cherry lead off and then layers of oak, licorice, spicy pepper and earthy components unfold over its fantastic textural tannins and minerality.
Finish – Extremely long with this wine’s wild berry and oak components gently fading over several minutes and leaving behind elegant tannins and dark minerals.
Conclusion – The 2007 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a fantastic wine that is drinking surprising well for a wine that has yet to be released. Give this wine a few minutes to open up to express itself and you’ll be handsomely rewarded, if you can, stash a few bottles in the cellar as this wine has tremendous potential and will likely improve and evolve for the next decade.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Bryan Kane
WINE EDUCATION: For his Bordeaux varietal training, Bryan studied under winemakers from classic California Cabernet producers including Clos du Val and Opus One, where he learned both new world and old world winemaking techniques passed on from what was learned at Mouton Rothschild. Bryan has come up through the ranks as a winemaker with his training on Bordeaux varietals, his work at wineries suck as Copain and Nicholson Ranch, and his experience and training with Rhone varietals for which he was recently named a “Next Generation Cult Winemaker” by Sommelier Journal.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: The fruit we source and the land from which it grows is our primary focus because we believe in utilizing minimal intervention winemaking techniques. This ensures that the unique qualities of the grapes and terroir of the vineyard are reflected in the color, structure, nose and taste of the wine without unnecessary manipulation. So, by closely managing the vineyards and harvesting based on phenolics, we minimize the need to make non-native additions in the winemaking process.
Still, close management of the winemaking process is very important to us. The use of significant temperature and cap management is needed to create an environment in which the indigenous yeast can thrive. The use of a 24-hour fermentation management program is used, varying the temperature and cap management procedure on a 3-4-hour time basis during various stages of the fermentation process. This unique approach is very time intensive and costly, but insures the environment for the fermentation so that the wine develops the necessary color, extraction and structure without the use of external additives. To some, our 24-hour fermentation management program seems crazy, but, remember, yeast don’t sleep!
On the finish, we believe in traditional oak barrel fermentation for almost all of our wines. Most wines age at least 16-18 months in barrel, with Bordeaux varietals remaining in barrel 24 months total. French oak is used exclusively in at Sol Rouge to bring out a true “old world” quality within our wines.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: At Sol Rouge, we focus on extreme farming and minimal winemaker intervention for intense wines.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2004 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – April 2007 (75 cases)
WINEMAKER INTERVIEW AGENT RED: Greetings, Bryan. We are thrilled to be featuring the exclusive pre-release of your 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRYAN: Thank you for having me here, Agent Red
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRYAN: Yes, I was 21 years old and a recent college grad in my first job out of college where I had to take a number of clients out for a “working lunch”. It was November and the Beaujolais nouveau had just been flown in from France and the restaurant was doing a wine flight with the lunch. We decided to all participate in the tasting. After the first wine of the flight, the wine, not work, took over the entire focus of our conversation. It brought us closer together as people, not just work associates, that, at the end of the lunch, I was able to easily close the sale. I loved the way that wine brought people together.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRYAN: For Bordeaux varietal wines, one of my mentors, a fourth generation winemaker from Ch. Latour, has been a good friend and mentor over the years and has had a great influence over my wines from vineyard management to barrel selection.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BRYAN: I primarily make my wines for the vineyards that we work with and their owners. Since I firmly believe in minimal winemaker intervention, I like to think of myself as one who acts as a “coach” with the vineyard workers through the growing season and with the yeast through the fermentation process in order to make wines that expresses the unique characteristics and terroir of each vineyard.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BRYAN: Well, although most of the recognition that I have received as a winemaker has been with Rhone varietals having only worked with Bordeaux varietals since 2004, much of my recent “hype” and many of the recent accolades have been over my Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2008, the 2005 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was named “Best of Appellation” for all Napa Cabernet Sauvignon by Dan Berger, Alan Goldfarb and a team of respected wine writers. Then, our 2006 Sol Rouge Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon took “Best in Class” at the California State Fair as the Top Cabernet Sauvignon for Napa, Sonoma, and the entire North Coast. With our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon receiving Top Cabernet honors as a Double Gold Medal Winner at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle tasting, I seem to be on a run with my Bordeaux varietals. I just wish I would have made since I only made 175 cases, down from 350 case in the 2006 vintage.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRYAN: I love a 2” Filet Mignon, bacon wrapped cooked medium rare and quickly seared in red port reduction sauce. I love when all that structure from those well integrated tannins cuts through the steak like a hot knife through butter. Wow, I am really making myself hungry!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Mayacamas Mountains so special?
BRYAN: California’s Mayacamas Mountains. I love working with high, elevation, mountain fruit. I work with Mayacamas Mountain fruit from Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain, and the highest Cabernet Sauvignon fruit in the entire Mayacamas Mountain range (at 3000’ elevation) from the new Red Hills Appellation. All of it is spectacular. The set produces small berries for a greater skin-to-pulp ratio and thus produces a lighter overall crop, so each vine can focus on less fruit, producing more intense characteristics in the grapes which come through in the wine. And, with the high elevation, the nights cool, allowing the vines relief after a hot day, allowing the wines to rest (like a prize fighter after the bell rings) and come out stronger the next day, producing energy through photosynthesis, and producing a more intense berry with a thicker, more flavorful skin.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRYAN: Winemaker dinner and trade tastings are more common these days than anything. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon has been racked off their gros lees, and are nicely in barrel, being topped every two week, and going through the aging process.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BRYAN: Well, the best way is to join the Sol Rouge Wine Club. I love wine and I love to drink lots of different wines, so I produce a large number of wines (20+ bottling this year alone) for such a small winery. And, I love to produce special bottling only available to Wine Club members. If you like my wines, I encourage you to join our Wine Club so that you don’t miss out on anything.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BRYAN: Yes, our 70 acre hillside, high-vine density estate vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains started to produce fruit in 2009 after four years. We yielded 1 ton per acre from our estate vineyard. It is incredible. Plus, I began working with all five Bordeaux varietals in 2009, so watch for some amazing thing coming out of Sol Rouge in the future!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold Medal and tied for Top Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2010 San Francisco Wine Competition
About This Wine:
Our 2006 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits black licorice and red currant notes n the nose with an underlying hint of damp forest floor. Upfront there is powerful dark red fruit on the palate with underlying tones of black cherry that explode in the mid-palate and a slight hint of vanilla and boysenberry leading to a deep, long finish with polished, integrated tannins. This balanced wine exhibits good concentration without being over extracted – retaining characteristics that are true to its terroir – a blend of fruit from two vineyards on Howell Mountain, one of which is in the Howell Mountain Appellation.
About Sol Rouge
Sol Rouge is a family estate located in the Red Hills Appellation at elevations averaging over 1800 feet. North of Napa in the foothills of a dormant volcano which formed the North Coast wine country, this land contains rich, red volcanic soil and, from this unique profile, Sol Rouge derived its name – translating to “Red Soil” in French. This 70 acre estate is currently planted with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc and will soon be planted with Cinsault. Nestled between Mt. Konocti and Benson Ridge, this aggressive sight is all hillside with slopes up to 60% and is said to be the most tightly planted vineyard in the Red Hills, with nearly 6000 vines per hectare in some blocks.
Sol Rouge is focused on producing wines similar to that of the Rhone and Bordeaux regions of France. We currently partner with vineyards in California who produce these varietals with the distinct soil profiles similar to our terroir and those of France. Our “non-intervention” philosophy helps to bring the true flavor and characteristics of each vineyard through to our wines.
It started with a passion; to produce the finest quality Rhone and Bordeaux varietal wines here in California. To produce the most complex wines, one must start with the highest quality fruit, and that is how Sol Rouge began.
“Sun” and “Soil” are two of the most important elements in making great wine. After searching throughout California for the best site to grow ultrapremium grapes, Bryan & Jill Kane found a unique 70 acre estate nestled between Mt. Konocti and Benson Ridge outside the town of Kelseyville in the Red Hills Appellation of Lake County – an estate which we now call Sol Rouge.
Sol Rouge is a 70 acre estate at the northern edge of the Red Hills Appellation in Lake County. The property rests on the South West side of a dormant volcano (Mt. Konocti) that formed the North Coast Wine Country of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake over 10,000 years ago. It is an aggressive site planted entirely on a hillside with an average slope of 35% and slopes of almost 60% in the terraced blocks.
Cooperage: 100% French Oak Barrels, 50% New
Aged: 24 months in Barrel
Production: 175 Cases
Release Date: April 2010