May 17, 2012

SOWF #8: Clos du Soleil

Another short hop along Upper Bench Road to Clos du Soleil. Many wine shops have dedicated staff whose only job is to pour. Other wineries are smaller and require more of a "chief cook and bottle-washer" approach to getting all the work done. You know you're at one of the smaller operations when it takes a couple of minutes for someone to come to the tasting room from out in the field. I always feel a little guilty for interrupting their work, but at the same time you know you're going to get an opportunity to talk to someone who knows the intimate details about how the wines were made. Such was the case at Clos du Soleil, where the vineyard manager Jean-Félix arrived and was able to give us a few insights that you can probably only get from someone with a little dirt under their fingernails. This winery appears less concerned about making a big splash and is focused instead on slowly but surely producing the best possible wines. From what I tasted I think they're on the right track.

  • Pinot Blanc 2011 ($19)
Grown near Middle Bench Road in Keremeos by the Baessler family, this fruity and fresh Pinot Blanc opens with a nose of delicate tropical fruit on a backdrop of orchard apple and citrus. The palate is bright and clean, shows great balance and body, and has a pleasantly crisp, refreshing finish – perfect for spring and summer time patio fare or enjoy as a refreshing pre-dinner interlude.  

89 points. Dry, no finish, delicious.

  • Capella 2010 ($25)
The 2010 Capella is elegant and rich, demonstrating the classic notes of this French influenced blend. The nose starts with refreshing gooseberry, lemon rind and honeysuckle. As the bouquet opens, the crisp scents of pear and star fruit join in. In the mouth, the subtle flavours are clean and fresh, adding depth to the aromas.

88 points. Bordeaux Blanc blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. This tasted off - I think the bottle was open too long and the wine was oxidized. What we tasted does not match the description above. I'd like to try this again to make sure.

  • Fumé Blanc 2010 ($23)
Inspired by the traditional barrel-fermented white wine from the Bordeaux region, our Fumé Blanc is a classic old-world styled white with a new world taste. It opens up on a sweet note of pineapple, vanilla and toast, followed by hints of citrus, orchard apple, honey-comb and the classic mineral touch. In the mouth it is clean, smooth and exhibits a nice balance between bright acidity, oak nuances, and residual sweetness. It finishes long with a slight grassy note from the Sauvignon Blanc grape that is both refreshing and satisfying.

89 points. Recently bottled so a little bottle shock but a very nice wine. Kris really liked it so we purchased this one.

  • Rosé 2011 ($18)
Created with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this rosé is the perfect everyday wine. The nose begins with sun-kissed fresh raspberries, tangy cranberry and vanilla bean. On the palate, the sweet fruit motif continues with the addition of strawberry. A full-body mouth feel and long length make this a perfect food wine. It is summer in a bottle. 

89 points. Fairly complex for a Rosé. Bought it too.

  • Célestiale 2009 ($23)
This juicy and fruit-forward Bordeaux-style red has a Canadian twist of Cabernet Franc and Merlot dominance. It was matured for 18 months in French oak which gives it a glimmer of spice. It softly opens up to bright notes of strawberry, raspberry, sweet red cherries and hints of coffee and chocolate. In the mouth it’s juicy, almost refreshing, and is nicely framed by just the right amount of well integrated tannins and weight. There is great balance and a long finish.

90 points. Bought this as well.

  • Signature 2009 ($40)
The use of all 5 red Bordeaux varietals and maturation for 18 months in French oak before bottling without fining or filtering gives this wine great complexity. It greets the nose with vibrant strawberries and blackberry with hints of sandalwood and spice. As it opens dark cherries, plums and soft hints of caramel, espresso and chocolate come into play. When first tasted, the fresh fruit is echoed on a soft tannin base. After decanting, a balanced yet solid tannin structure frames the fruit and the aromas intensify. This wine shows promising longevity in the cellar.

90 points. Nice, peppery, delicious.

  • Saturn (375 ml) 2010 ($29)
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes for this Select Late Harvest delicacy were intentionally picked overripe in the cold of November. Inspired by the great dessert wine tradition of the Sauternes region of the Bordeaux, this wine exhibits a lovely pale golden hue in the glass. Enticing aromas of ripe pineapple, apricot, honey and citrus rind are followed by a long, hypnotic finish adding toffee and a suggestion of fresh sage. This luscious, balanced creation will pair nicely with foie-gras, creamy blue cheese or a delicate dessert

89 points. Late harvest but not as sweet as you would expect.

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