Tag Archives: sangiovese

Solis Winery

Here is yet another wonderful winery in Santa Clara Valley.  Solis Winery uses “modern technology to produce meticulously crafted award-winning wines” that also taste good!  Solis is located on Hecker Pass, on the left if you are coming from Gilroy, with a cluster of other wineries.  Because it is near so many other wineries, they get quite a few tours coming through the tasting room and can be quite crowded on the weekends.  I personally like a more intimate tasting experience, so I recommend going there during the week if possible.  The tasting room is actually down a few SolisWinerystairs once you enter the building and there is a very nice outdoor area that you can enjoy while tasting.  Their tasting room has always stuck in my mind because of the stairs that you have to go down and the almost half circle bar that they have; it is unique in my experience.  There were two wines that I found exceptional in my experience: the Seducente and the Merlot.

2005 Seducente – Pronounced “sed-u-chent-ay” (I was corrected on this so many times I was ready to throw it in thebottles02 face of the person correcting me).  It is a Super Tuscan wine made of estate Sangiovese and Merlot from Mann Vineyards.  I found strong flavors of black cherry when I tasted this wine, and the Sangio blended with the Merlot really smoothed out the tannins.  I am a huge fan of Sangiovese by itself, so when it is blended I usually wonder why a good wine was wasted.  I did not wonder that with this wine; this blend works perfectly.  I want to buy enough of it to have a bottle every week (too bad the reality of bank accounts and having no place to store it keep me from doing just that).

2005 Merlot Estate – I thought that this was an excellent example of what a Merlot should taste like.  It had body and flavor without being too heavy on the tannins; extremely smooth and easy to drink.  I tasted berries and plum in this wine, along with a slight hint of earth, ironically I couldn’t smell anything past the good red wine smell.  I was enraptured.  I am not surprised that this wine has won two gold medals, only surprised that it has not won more!

While I did not personally taste the 2004 Sangiovese Estate, I have been told by many friends that it is an excellent wine.  Currently the winery is sold out of it, which is why I did not taste it, but it can be found stores.  I was referred to the local Nob Hill Foods as the best bet to get some.  They also make a Fiano, which is a rarely found Italian white wine varietal.  I cannot wait to go back and try this one in particular.  Along with these superb wines, Solis produces Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Meritage called Cara Mia among others.  One final thing to mention is the Solis Wine Club; I am not a member but I have friends and family that are.  If you are interested in joining a wine club that has great events focused on food and wine pairings, you might want to consider Solis.bottleneck

Birdstone Winery

Driving out to Fresno, CA by way of Highway 99-South, you drive through a little town called Madera.  This town has an abundance of wineries for such a small population; and while some are “ehhhh”, there are a few stellar examples of uniqe, small batch wines.  One of these such wineries is Birdstone Winery.  It is off Avenue 9 (most of the exits in Madera are Avenue Some-#) almost all the way to Highway 41.  There is one small wine trail sign near the turn for the winery, but make sure to bring a map and watch the streets you drive by.

SangioThis winery produces mostly red wines, with a very nice Chardonnay for those wimps who cannot take a good red.  Their bottles are mostly under $20, which makes this our favorite stop for everyday and gifting wine.  Jack and I are still debating on which wine we like the best, but our three favorites are: Sangiovese, Barbera, and Tempranillo.  Last time we were there we got to meet the owner/winemaker and do a barrel tasting of a Cabernet Sauvignon.  My first barrel tasting, YAY!  They also have a worker there named Matt, who was very nice.  He also “forgot” where we were in the tasting list and had to start us over again.  Three times!  If you happen to go there, ask for the story about the Red Headed Step Child Chardonnay; it is a great story even if the wine is all sold out.

Sangiovese – This is a lighter red wine, as the afficiandos already know, but unlike most Sangio’s that you buy at BevMo, this one has flavor.  It is not watered down at all, and has a nice and light finish Barberafor how much flavor is on the tongue.  This is our favorite Sangio that we have ever tasted, and we prove that by buying a couple bottles each time we go there.  Those couple of bottles are usually gone within a week.

Barbera – This is the first time that we tasted a Barbera, and we liked it.  It reminded me alot of a good Pinot Noir on the body and finish, but a blended Grenache on the lightness of the overall taste.  It did not leave a chalky feeling on my tongue; this surprised me when it tastes so heavy.  I could not drink this wine everyday, Jack can, but it would go great with a rich pasta or a red meat.

Tempranillo – I was hesitant to try this wine because I have been dissatisfied with them in the past, but this one was a nice middle ground between the Sangio and the Barbera.  If I didn’t know better, I would think it was a blend of the two.  Lighter yet stronger, it was a very nice wine.