These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.
I was given the opportunity to join in an online tasting of wines from Soléna Estate. This was a new winery for me, but since I’m becoming more of a fan of the wines coming out of Oregon, I happily participated.
After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80-acre estate to commemorate their marriage. In May 2002, they launched Soléna by releasing their first bottling and, shortly thereafter, opening a tasting room in Carlton. Soléna is the combination of the Spanish and French words Solana and Solene, celebrating the sun and the moon, and the name that Laurent and Danielle gave to their daughter.
Soléna Estate began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family’s young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District matured. In May, 2007, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA to their estate vineyard holdings. Today Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Late Harvest Riesling from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.
Much more information on the family, winery and the wines is available on their website by clicking here.
#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine. Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area. This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.
What is #WineChat? Click here to learn more.
How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!
Grab a glass and join in!
#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio. For more information on them, click here.
Here are the wines for this tasting event:
2013 Soléna Pinot Gris – SRP $20
This wine includes 4% Gewurztraminer blended in with the Pinot Gris. The grapes for this wine come from several sites throughout the Willamette Valley including: Hyland Vineyard, Guadalupe Vineyard, Olsen Vineyard, Wildewood Vineyard, Elvenglade Vineyard, Bailey Vineyard and Kramer Vineyard.
The grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to emphasize the naturally fruity character of the Pinot Gris grapes. Each lot was fermented separately and was later carefully blended to obtain a crisp, refreshing style, capitalizing on the unique variations from each vineyard site.
The wine was aged sur lees for extra depth and there was no malolactic fermentation. A total of 5000 cases of wine was produced.
The wine has 13.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a namacorc. This closure was chosen to help preserve freshness.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a light straw color. The very open and inviting nose has honeysuckle, pear, flinty minerals, vanilla, lychee and orange blossoms. This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness. On the palate ripe pears, minerals and vanilla jump out first with vanilla and lime zest coming in on the back end. The finish has good length with a nice floral note entering the picture. This has a nice creamy texture on the palate. (89 pts)
2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Grande Cuvée – SRP $25
This 100% Pinot Noir uses grapes from a variety of appellations. We selected premium vineyard sites throughout the Willamette Valley, including Angela (Yamhill-Carlton), Thistle (Dundee Hills), Zena Crown (Eola-Amity Hills), Kalita (Yamhill-Carlton) and Monk’s Gate (Yamhill-Carlton). All of the vineyard sites embrace viticultural practices that reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides which can have a negative impact on the soil’s health. The vineyard sites were closely monitored to ensure the maximum quality of fruit. Harvest decisions were made based on fruit flavors and sugars.
After fermentation the wine was barrel aged for 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels. This wine is treated the same way their vineyard designated wines. There were 6200 cases of this wine produced.
The wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a nomacorc closure.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a medium ruby red color. The soothing nose has black cherries, raspberries, earthy underbrush, violets and warm baking spices. This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity. On the palate dark fruit and earthiness coat the palate slowly allowing some violets to slip into the picture. The finish has decent length with the earthy elements and spice carrying the load. I’d like a little more zip on the finish but other wise this is very tasty. (89 pts)
2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard – SRP $50
The Hyland Vineyard was purchased by the family and their business partners in May 2007. The vineyard was planted in the 1970s. and is located in the Coastal Range foothills southwest of McMinnvile. The 200 acre estate has 120 acres of vines. The grapes for this wine come from the 47.21 acres of own-rooted, old-growth Pinot Noir.
This high elevation vineyard (600’ to 800’) is typically the winery’s last picked, at the end of October. There is a low yield due to the age of the vines. The 2012 Hyland Vineyard is a really delicate wine and we keep the new oak limited to enhance the fruit and not cover it. Hyland Vineyard is one of the oldest planted vineyards in Willamette Valley. We own the vineyards and therefore, select the best blocks for ourselves.
The wine has 13.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a bright, medium ruby red color. The inviting nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, minerals, dried herbs, cola, violets and white pepper. This is barely medium body with soft to moderate silky tannins and very nice acidity. The fruit and spice initially coat the palate with minerals and cola coming in on the backend. The finish has very good length with some dried herbs and white pepper entering the picture. This could use a year or two in the cellar but shows very good potential. (92 pts)
2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent – SRP $50
In May of 2000 Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80 acre estate as their wedding gift to each other and registered with premium nurseries for six different clones of Pinot Noir vines as wedding gifts. They named the vineyard Domaine Danielle Laurent.
According to the winery, DDL is really quite young to taste and needs at least 3 years to start developing its bouquet. DDL vines are now 14 years old…still babies…teenagers. The winery has the sheep and goats mowing the rows during winter.
This wine has 13.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color. The intoxicating nose has black cherries, raspberries, stony minerals, sautéed mushrooms, baking spices, violets and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium body moderate silky tannins and very good acidity. On the palate the fruit and spice jump out first with minerals and a floral note coming in on the back end. The finish has very good length with some earthiness joining the fruit and spice. This tastes great with some air but deserves a year or two in the cellar. (93 pts)
This is another outstanding Oregon winery to add to your list of wineries to visit. The lower end wines offer fantastic value and the single vineyard Pinot Noirs are stunning but will be better if you allow them time to develop in your cool cellar.
Connect with me
You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two. Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets. I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.
If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.
This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com. Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.
All rights reserved.
***** Shameless Self Promotion *****
Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.
Breaking news from Klout:
Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts
Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:
Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.
Remember to support your local wine store!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive. I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount. Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges. None of the prices include the sales tax.
All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.