Clos du Soleil 2013 Spring Equinox releases
Clos du Soleil Winery
likes to call itself the premier artisan wine producer in the Similkameen Valley.
That is hyperbole, but
only because the Similkameen is blessed with a number of excellent artisanal
wineries. Everyone heading for an interior wine tour should budget a day in the
One reason is that the
artisanal wineries, almost by definition, produce wines in such small lots that
the wines have limited distribution. The best place to get them is at the
Clos du Soleil did not
even have a wine shop at its 4.1-hectare Upper Bench Road vineyard when it began
marketing its wines in 2008. That has changed now that winery has increased its
total production to 2,400 cases. The tasting room is open Thursday through
Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of these hours, call 1-250-499-9340 to
book an appointment.
A few years ago, the
winery added wines from grower vineyards in the Similkameen which offered some
special fruit. These are part of the winery’s Grower Series.
What for the imminent
release of two Growers Series wines: the
Chegwin & Baessler Pinot Blanc 2012 ($19.90
for 195 cases) and the Makepeace Merlot
2011 ($24.90 for 100 cases). Previous vintages of the Pinot Blanc were
outstanding. The Makepeace Merlot is new to Clos du Soleil; the winery promises
it is a “blockbuster” Merlot.
Among the latest releases,
the one that really turned my head was the rosé. This wine puts Clos du Soleil
in the top tier of rosé producers in British
Soleil Fumé Blanc 2012 ($19.90 for 550
cases). This is 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon. The name, which translates
top smoky white, is generally applied to similar wines that have been fermented
in barrels. The style is the polar opposite of the fruit-in-your-face New
Zealand Sauvignon Blanc style. There are wine lovers firmly in either camp.
Those who like the smoky, herbal style with a crisp dry finish will enjoy this
wine. There are hints of grapefruit and grapefruit rind on the palate, with
lingering herbal notes. 90.
Clos du Soleil Rosé 2012 ($18.90 for 550 cases). This wine is made entirely
from Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for the attractive deep hue and for the
magnificent concentration of fruit aromas and flavours. The texture is
luscious, with flavours of cherry, strawberry and raspberry. While the fruit shows a sweet core on
mid-palate, the finish is dry, making this a superb food wine. 92.
Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2011 ($24.90 f0r 400 cases). This is a blend of 44%
Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 3%
Malbec. The alcohol level of 13.4% indicates that the winery was able to secure
properly ripened grapes despite the challenges of the cool vintage. The wine begins with aromas of blackberry and
cherry with a hint of espresso. On the palate, there are flavours of
blackberry, black currant, chocolate and tobacco. The ripe tannins help give
the wine a generous texture, especially when the wine opens up after decanting.
Keep in mind that this is still a young red that has more to show if you have
the patience to cellar it for several years. 89.
Clos du Soleil Signature 2010 ($39.90 for 275 cases). This wine was previously
released but not yet reviewed here. This is 48% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon
and 9% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot. The winery still has 150 cases
available. This is an elegantly polished wine, structured for cellaring. The
wine begins with appealing aromas of black cherry and mocha. On the palate,
there are flavours of plum and blackberry, with hints of espresso and dark
chocolate on the finish. The tannins are firm but polished. 91.