Summary: Sol Rouge winery and vineyard concentrates on the Rhone and Bordeaux grape varieties in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County. Wine enthusiasts can taste the wines at the Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake.
We met Bryan and Jill Kane owners of Sol Rouge in the Lake County Wine Studio. Bryan is a winemaker and makes wine for Sol Rouge and other wineries. Bryan and Jill noted that the name Sol Rouge refers to where the sun meets the soil.
In the beginning Bryan became interested in wine when he worked for Hawk Industries. He wanted to “wine and dine” customers and eventually became a wine geek!
In 2004 Bryan began making wine in a San Francisco building that was originally a mayonnaise factory in the Mission district. Eventually he moved the winery operation to a warehouse on Treasure Island. In 2010 Bryan started a fully functioning winery in an old airline building. Today this is where he produces the Sol Rouge wines. Current production is 1,200 cases.
Jill and Bryan wanted to use their wine knowledge to plant a vineyard and produce a great wine. They began looking for places to plant a vineyard, skipping Napa because of the cost. They had heard a lot about Lake County and eventually planted vineyards in the Red Hills AVA.
The vineyards are planted with Rhone and Bordeaux grape varieties including: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Counoise, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.
While talking about wines and vineyards, we began tasting wines. Bryan and Jill had brought with them five grape bunches to taste. Three of the grape clusters were Syrah but each one had come from a different clone. Each grape and each wine produced offered different characteristics. The Syrah clones were 300, Alban Hermiteg and 877. We tasted the individual grapes from each clone of Syrah. There were definite differences in the tastes of the grapes.
Sol Rouge has their wines available for tasting at the Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake. We tasted several of their wines. Viognier 2011 was yellow with 13.4% alcohol. The grapes were sourced from R Vineyards in Middletown. The wine offered floral and tropical fruit notes. It was crisp and full-bodied. Bryan used indigenous yeasts for this Viognier. The wine retails for $32. Rosé Wine 2012 was produced with mainly Grenache. The wine was a light red with an orange hue. This 13.1% wine offered raspberry and cranberry notes. This light-bodied wine would pair well with food and make a great wine for Thanksgiving Dinner. The retail price is $18.
Gypsy Rouge 2009 was a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Counoise. Gypsy Rouge showcases the vineyard. The wine was a translucent ruby color with 14.3% alcohol. This wine was a fruit cocktail of red and black berry fruit. The wine retails for $28. Syrah 2010 was an opaque, dark ruby color with 14.4% alcohol. The wine had notes of blueberry, blackberry and spices. This full-bodied wine with medium tannins would pair well with food. The retail price is $32. Cabernet Franc 2010 was an almost opaque, dark ruby color. With 14.4% alcohol the wine offered notes of black berries, plums, spices and mocha. The smooth wine had bold tannins and was full-bodied. Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Red Hills AVA with 14.4% alcohol was an opaque, dark ruby color. The wine offered notes of black berries, cassis and a hint of chocolate. The full-bodied wine had very bold tannins. Pair this wine with food.
Sol Rouge offers two wine club memberships. Wine lovers can choose between the Terrace Club and the Hillside Club. The Terrace Club members receive 12 bottles of wine at a 25% discount and Hillside Club members 6 bottles of Sol Rouge wine at each release.
Discover Sol Rouge wines from grapes grown where the sun meets the soil.
Sol Rouge wines at Lake County Wine Studio
9505 Main Street
Upper Lake, California 95485
GPS: N39º 09.890' W122º 54.651'
Article written in September 2014
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