Monday, July 28, 2014

Soléna Estate Cultivates Biodynamic Excellence With Line of Pinot Noir Offerings

Soléna Estate is an ultra-premium winery with a focus on Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. I first became acquainted with their wines at the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbera. With the first sip I was struck with the richness and depth of their Pinot Noir.
Recently I had the chance to taste through three Soléna Pinot Noir and a Pinot Gris. I was joined by Green Dragon and tasting team members Glorious T and the Cabinator.
Due to a disconnect, Green Dragon didn’t realize we would be tasting Pinot Noir. She had assembled all the ingredients for homemade Hawaiian pizza (with pineapple and ham). I’m a lover of pizza as much as I love wine, so we decided to roll with the rather unorthodox pairing.
We sampled the 2012 Soléna Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir with pizza after decanting the wine for about 45 minutes. Hyland vineyard is one of the oldest planted vineyards in Willamette Valley, being planted in 1971. The soil is volcanic and the grapes come from biodynamically farmed blocks.
This is a magnificent wine. It is a deep garnet/rose color in the glass. On the palate there is tart cherry with luscious brambly flavor notes. The texture after decanting is divine. Only 500 cases of this wine were produced.
When our guests arrived, we poured the chilled 2013 Soléna Pinot Gris. As chance would have it, we had opened a different Oregon Pinot Gris the night before and could taste it side by side.
The Soléna has 4% Gerwurztraminer added to the blend and it adds to a floral nose. The juiciness of the wine outweighs the acidity. A few weeks of sur lees fermentation adds a nice fullness to the texture.
The other Pinot Gris was thinner tasting with an acidic finish that made it less polished by comparison with the Soléna.
The 2012 Soléna Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir comes from various vineyards in Willamette Valley. We enjoyed this with thyme-infused sausage and apple/onion appetizer.
At $25 this is a tasty Willamette Valley Pinot, although it falls short of the glory of the two Soléna single-vineyard Pinot. There is flavor of cooked cherries and tobacco and nice bright acidity.
Soléna Estate is an 80-acre biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Willamette Valley. The winery was founded by Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu. Soléna is the combination of French and Spanish words celebrating the sun and the moon. It’s also the name that Laurent and Danielle gave to their daughter.
To wrap up our tasting, we sampled the 2012 Soléna Domain Danielle Laurent Pinot Noir. The DDL vineyard is located next to Shea Vineyards and has ancient sedimentary Willakenzie soil.
We paired the DDL with mushroom Asiago bites.This Pinot is a more robust in style than the Hyland. It has deep notes of cedar and coffee. It is aged for 11 months in French oak.
The wines from Soléna Estate are exciting. The Pinots represent three different takes on the grape, each with their own enthralling personality. The Hyland and DDL retail for $50 each and represent a delicious value in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Our top choice was the Hyland, but the comparison may not be fair as we didn’t decant the DDL and suspect that on another night, that might take top honors.
Full disclosure: These wines were provided as a marketing sample.
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