What We Say 2006 'The Gypsy' Red Rhone Blend
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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery.
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: The Gypsy Dancer
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Reveal the truth behind the latest Rhone style blend from Sol Rouge
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sol Rouge
Wine Subject: 2006 ‘The Gypsy’ Red Rhone Blend
Winemaker: Bryan & Jill Kane
The Southern Rhone Valley in France is famous for its Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault based blends that dance on the palate with a range of flavors, richness and elegance. With the popularity and awareness of such wines, more and more California producers are trying their hand with proprietary Rhone style blends. While these blends do not have to adhere to the strict AOC restrictions, they do capture the style very well. Today’s selection is a perfect example.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful clear garnet and ruby red in color with brick and pink edges and a sparkling and springy surface.
Smell – Balanced sweet ripe spring berries including raspberries and strawberries, a distinct and subtle floral component of lavender (incidentally one of the most prominent flowers in the southern Rhone) and a hint of spice.
Feel – Medium bodied and smooth, with a sweetness on the tip of the tongue and a slight dryness that reaches the back and edges of the palate.
Taste – Solid ripe fruit balanced against its oak and spice components. The floral lavender lingers and provides a very nice complexity to the flavors of this wine.
Finish – Long, lingering and complete, the finish of this wine invites another sip, and eventually another glass.
Conclusion – This wine is an exceptionally elegant wine. Bright fruit flavors, a complexity of oak, spice and floral components. Beautifully balanced, elegant in its presentation but fun and lively!
The call came in on my cell phone. The woman on the other end said her name was Esméralda and spoke with a thick French accent. Her instructions were simple: Go to the bistro Michel Richard in Los Angeles and order the Le Plateau De Charcuterie.
I did as instructed, and along with the Pâtés, Dry Sausage and freshly baked bread, came a glass of red wine. Immediately I was concerned, I had eaten at the bistro regularly, the staff knew me and would never just pour a glass of ‘house’ wine.
This was no house wine, however. It was a French wine, or so I thought. Beautiful fruit, balanced spice and oak, and the unique scent of fresh lavender, lively but also elegant and sophisticated. Southern Rhone, I thought. Grenache, revealed by its sweet fruit aroma and flavor. I discretely took a sample for analysis back at the ops center. While I enjoyed the wine and the lunch, I wasn’t prepared for another scavenger hunt or wild goose chase of a mission.
As I was leaving, the garcon said the bill had been taken care of by a dancer. The ‘Dancer’, puzzling thought. I inquired further. All he would confirm is that the dancer spoke with a French accent and if I wanted more information I would know where to find it.
Once back at the ops center, I dropped the sample off at our lab and results confirmed that it was indeed a red Rhone blend, but the grapes were from California and the blend was proprietary. My only other clue was that Esméralda was a dancer.
Baffled, I blindly called the dance studio around the corner from Michel Richard (made famous my the television show So You Think You Can Dance) and asked for Esméralda. The man paused and then put me on hold. Only after waiting for about 5 minutes did he return and said, ‘The Gypsy’ doesn’t instruct here anymore. The ‘Gypsy’ I asked, yes, that was what she preferred to be called. I asked if I could review her file, he said, the only thing she left was a bottle of wine with a card on it. The card was sealed with the the note ‘Hold for A.W’.
After I convinced them I was A.W. I was able to inspect the bottle. It was a new wine from Sol Rouge, specifically a 2006 red Rhone blend called ‘The Gypsy’.
While the mystery of the Gypsy Dancer Esméralda still haunts me, the wine doesn’t, simply delicious.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Sol Rouge Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery
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Awards & Accolades:
95 Points – Wine X Magazine
This proprietary blend sourced from the top vineyards in Lake County embodies the spirit of the name; fun, lavish, wild, free-willed and exciting, yet sophisticated. It exhibits lavender in the nose that evolves into a spiced mid-palate, finishing with long berry notes. The result is a truly fascinating wine that you will enjoy drinking on its own or pairing with everything from vegetables to a wide variety of fish and meat.
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.
Varietals: Proprietary blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah, and Syrah
Cooperage: 100% French Oak Barrels, 7% New
Production: 350 Cases
Released: May 2008