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Clos Solene Hommage a nos Pairs Reserve 2008
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As a boy, Guillaume learned how to grow and care for the grapes. Guillaume lived on the winery in the south of France, Château Saint-Eugénie, until he was 22. He was attending University in 2000 when his family decided to sell its land and move the wine business to Bordeaux, in the Côtes de Bourg, Northwest Bordeaux City. Guillaume stayed behind but while visiting his family he met his true love, Solène.
Guillaume caught a glimpse of 19-year-old Solène and was determined to meet her. And that is when the bolt of lightning, “coup de foudre” happened...
Passionate about viticulture, Guillaume dreamed of exploiting the riches of that unique terroir and climate, using his experience, creativity and ideas to create his own wines. He had only to leave France and move to California to put his plan to work...
The couple parted, Solène to Spain to study Spanish language, literature and civilization, and Guillaume to Paso Robles, in California, the: New World, to intern at a winery. By the end of the internship, Guillaume was offered a permanent job, but the love between he and Solène was great and he had to have her come for him to accept the job.
She got a letter from him while she was still in Spain, with a round trip to Paso Robles and a note saying: “If you put your confidence in me and follow me, I will offer you, in the New World, a Clos Solène, where the aromas will be more intense and the colors more brilliant, reflecting what I create with you as my muse.” This is how the couple decided to permanently move to the States together.
All the while, Guillaume had the vision of creating his signature wine, “I always wanted to work on my own creation, it’s not easy to take over a family business. I needed to stay busy and make things my way.”
As the only person making his wine, Guillaume gets to control every aspect of his product, from beginning to end, from the vines to the bottled wine.
Solène and Guillaume have now a budding family with a 7 year-old daughter, Clementine, 5 year-old son, Jean, and the newest, Juliette.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.