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Clos Solene Hommage a nos Pairs Reserve 2012
Blend: 94% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 2% Viognier
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 deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.
In the Glass
Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.
Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.