Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Beckstoffer’s To-Kalon & Dr. Crane
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Sol Rouge.
Top Secret Exclusive
Today’s wine from Sol Rouge is only available to club members on a very limited basis and is also a very small production wine. The Wine Spies has secured a few cases for availability to the general public. This is an exceptional wine so be sure to grab a few bottles before it is gone.
Mission Codename: A Higher Purpose
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Determine if higher elevation Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa are equal to their valley brethren.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sol Rouge
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Bryan Kane
Sol Rouge began as the passion of Bryan and Jill Kane’s to create the most expectional and complex Bordeaux and Rhone varietal wines. Not being satisfied with what was available, Bryan and Jill create thier exceptional wines with only the best fruit, a high elevation terroir, and a true artisan process. When you taste this wine, you’ll agree that their’s is the only way to make great wines.
This Cabernet in particular comes from grapes grown at Napa Valley’s most famous vineyards. The Beckstoffer To-Kalon and Dr. Crane Vineyards supply the grapes to only the best wines of Napa. Andy Beckstoffer has been farming his vineyards since 1969 and the To-Kalon vineyard dates back to the 1860s. With over 1000 acres planted in Napa and another 1100 in Lake County Beckstoffer supplies over 50 wineries.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple, almost black. Inky in clarity with thick robust tear drops and viscosity that hints at its mouthfeel and taste qualities.
Smell – Great nose of sweet and ripe fruit, slightly jammy in aroma with blackberries and tart black cherry, which then evolves to ripe raspberry and a touch of oak and earth.
Feel – Exceptionally smooth but rich and full-bodied with a tannic structure that hits mid palate.
Taste – Balanced fruit, toasted cedar and oak, a hint of spice and black licorice. Take your time to explore this wine as it has much to reveal.
Finish – A long and full finish that you would expect from a top-notch Cabernet.
Conclusion – Bryan Kane has made another exceptional wine. If you love Napa Cabernets, this is a must try. With only 50 cases produced, it is absolutely a boutique wine, but because you are an Wine Spy, this wine is accessible. Stock up on this one, it has solid cellaring potential.
Dateline: November 2007 – Cuvee Restaurant, Beverly Hills… I was sitting in by neighborhood coffee shop/bistro enjoying a double espresso as I tried to take the edge off the previous night’s marathon wine tasting. As I was reviewing my tasting notes, I noted a young gentleman walk in with a couple splits of wine in hand. Odd, I though, since the guy looked more like a computer programmer than wine drinker.
Not paying too much attention, since Cuvee sells quite a bit of wine I went back to my business. This man, and as I would soon find out, winemaker, sat at the table next to me and carefully placed his splits on the table with the label exposed in my direction. He must have noticed me scoping out his wine as we asked me if I was a fan of wine. Keeping my cool, I calmly said “sure- I enjoy a glass or two every now and then”, as I played dumb, so not to blow my cover.
This inquisitive person turned out to be Bryan Kane, one of the winemakers for Sol Rouge. Suspecting my cover had already been blown, I decided to make the best of the situation and I explained I was a wine spy. “I Know” Bryan said. “What gave it away”, I responded. “The pile of tasting notes, plus the fact that Agent Red said you’d be here, it doesn’t take a covert op to find you”, as he laughed smugly.
With pleasantries aside, Bryan began to tell me the story of Sol Rouge. How, he and his wife Jill had a passion for exceptional wines, that they were starting a new label and wanted to do it right, with only the best grapes from the best vineyards to complement the fruit from their newly formed high-elevation estate.
The one detail that caught my attention most, was Bryan’s passion and enthusiasm for great wine. They had a clear vision of what they wanted to create and with the best grapes, exceptional production and attention to the details they succeeded. Bryan and Jill Kane’s enthusiasm and passion is clearly evident when you taste this wine. With grapes from the famed Beckstoffer To-Kalon (which also happens to be the oldest vineyard in Napa) and Dr. Crane Vineyard this wine is comparable to Napa’s best Cabernets, at today, we have a special at one-third the price.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Sol Rouge Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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Our 2005 Sol Rouge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits classic aromas of cassis, licorice, and chocolate with a slight hint of vanilla toast from the French oak. This wine is rich and full-bodied, with sweet tannins, a multi-layered mid-palate and a finish that possesses accessibility and opulence. This balanced wine exhibits good concentration without being over extracted – retaining characteristics that are true to its terroir.
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. Adjacent to two of Napa’s premier grape growers (Beckstoffer and Snider), 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 almost 2200 vines per acre 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: 50% New French Oak Barrels
Aged: 24 months in Barrel
Vineyards: Beckstoffer’s To Kalon and Dr. Crane vineyards
Average Retail Price: $75.00
Production: 50 Cases
Release Date: October 2007