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Wines of Soléna Estate Dundee, Oregon @SolenaEstate


"Soléna is the combination of the French and Spanish words "Soleil" and "Luna" celebrating the sun and the moon."

I recently participated in a twitter wine tasting of the biodynamically farmed organic wines of Soléna Estate from Dundee, Oregon.  Winemaker Bruno Corneaux was in attendance. The tasting included the Soléna Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, Soléna Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir, Soléna Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir, and the Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent.

Unfortunately for me, the wines I was expecting were delayed due to heat. It was just too darn hot to ship the wines. My samples arrived during a brief cooling period. Since these wines arrived too late for me to taste with everyone participating in the twitter tasting, I'm catching up and sharing my personal impressions of these Oregon wines.

I try to be as unbiased as possible and to judge each wine on its own merits. When you have four premium wines from the same winery to taste and review, one cannot help but compare and contrast the wines. Yes, I have my favorites. It will be obvious in my notes which wines spoke to me. My advice is to read my notes and then go buy these wines. Take your own notes and compare your impressions to mine. You will gain perspective on your palate and on my palate too. Sometimes we will be in agreement, other times we will agree to disagree.

Thank you Soléna Estate for sharing these wines.


1. Soléna 2013 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley

Winery note: A wide range of vineyard sites across the Williamette Valley AVA added a variety of flavors and structure to create a balanced blend. Whole cluster pressing took place in order to capture the essence and freshness of the fruit. No malolactic fermentation was allowed. A small amount of Gewurztraminer was added to enhance and compliment the aromatic qualities and complexity of the wine.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Straw.
Nose: Mineral, barn floor, peach, citrus, lively and inviting.
Palate: Focused, fresh fruit, dry, pear, peach, fun finish with white grapefruit, lime pith and zing on the tongue.

Day two: Lovely, smooth almost creamy in the mouth, off-dry with a lot of delicious fruit and fantastic acid into the finish. Toasty honeyed nose with lime peel, cool wet river rock and white peach. Flavors of white peach and grapefruit pith into the tasty finish, nice tingle of acid on the gums. Not zingy as day one, but eminently drinkable. Wonderful with lunch of cold cuts and Manchego cheese. Wow! Very good pairing.

Thoughts: Inviting white wine, wonderful on a very hot day. This wine should be on your table today. Pair with summer foods that benefit from a hit of lime. On day two it shouted "drink me!" Strongly Recommended.

Blend: 96%Pinot Gris, 4% Gewurztraminer
Stainless steel fermented and sur lees for a few weeks
Closure: Nomacorc
ABV: 13.4%
Production: 5,000 cases
SRP: $20
Sample provided by the winery


2)  2012 Soléna Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Notes from the winery:
  • Sourced from various vineyards in Willamette Valley,
  • Smart buy and top value by Wine Spectator,
  • Harvested at end of September 2012,
  • Aged for 11 months in French Oak,
  • Bottled in September 2013.
Tasting Notes:

Color: Clear, light burgundy, to a darker purple.
Nose: Vitamin, dark red fruit. After 5 minutes aromas blew off and delivered fresh, light cherry, hint of river rock, and a touch of strawberry jam. Think picnic by a cool mountain stream.
Palate: Wonderful mouth feel, nice weight, supple tannin on the tongue, raspberry, ripe cranberry, with a dry medium cherry finish. Pretty and fun to be with.

Day three: Earthy red fruit on the nose, light body, fine delicate tannin, acid more present, fluid cherry/strawberry finish with pleasant grip on the tongue and gums. Enjoy with food.

Thoughts: A fresh and crowd pleasing Pinot Noir. No rough edges, not overly complex or sophisticated. Enjoyable, tasty and ready for food. Like. This is a buy me drink me wine. Drink now. Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Nomacorc
Production: 7,000 cases
SRP: $25
Sample provided by the winery


3) 2012 Soléna Hyland Vineyard Willamette Valley

Winery notes:
  • Hyland Vineyard is one of the oldest planted vineyards in Willamette Valley.
  • Hyland Vineyard is located in McMinnville AVA and was planted in 1971.
  • Hyland is self-rooted in volcanic Jory soil and has the largest planting of self-rooted Coury Clone Pinot Noir which was smuggled into the US presumably from Alsace by Charles Coury during the 1960’s.
  • The source of fruit for this wine is from the blocks that are biodynamicallly farmed.
  • Laurent, the winemaker, plans to leave this land better than he received it. They purchased this estate in 2007 and later introduced a separate winery- Hyland Estates Winery in 2008.
  • Numerous award-winning winemakers make single vineyard wine from this estates, including Penner-Ash, Bergstrom, Beaux Freres, Antica Terra and ...
  • Harvested at first week of October 2012
  • Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels
  • Bottled in September 2013
Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale garnet, clear.
Nose: Floral with red fruit, earthy background, dusty note, dark cherry, black currant with touch of minerality. More focused with some air.
Palate: Good mouth feel, nice weight, bright, black currant notes, rhubarb, cherry, spicy, black pepper into the medium finish. Good grip on teeth, pleasantly dry with balanced acid showing on the teeth. Squeaky.

At 10 minutes dancing on the palate occurred. Dark red fruit with touch of orange to keep it interesting. Bang on bright, fresh, focused finish. Showed some depth.

35 Minutes, savory edge to the nose with dark red fruit. A tasty pairing with Genoa Salami and Manchego cheese. Drank a little decadent and was thrilling. Magic moment for me. Totally grooved on this wine at this point.

Day three: Focused deep raspberry/strawberry with dark chocolate, oregano and a candied note on the nose. Medium-light body, nice mouth feel, red fruit with dark chocolate, balanced tannin/acid, lovely dark chocolate covered cherry, medium-light, dry finish.

Thoughts: There's plenty going on with this wine. Suitable for food and conversation. Serve gently chilled and take in a sunset on the river. Good date wine. Most of the action was on day one. Drink now and over the next three years. Strongly Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.6%
Production: 500 cases
SRP: $50
Sample provided by the winery


4)  2012 Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent (aka Soléna DDL) Willamette Valley

Winery notes: The Wedding Vineyard which was a wedding gift from friends for Danielle (owner and proprietor), daughter to Gary Andrus of Pine Ridge and Archery Summit, and Laurent (owner and proprietor).
  • When Danielle and Laurent got married, they registered for premium vines and created a vineyard from all the vines that were gifted to them and planted it behind their home in Yamhill, OR.
  • DDL as it is affectionately called, is located right next to Shea Vineyards in the Yamhill- Carlton AVA.
  • Soil type: Ancient sedimentary Willakenzie soil series, tightly planted to 2,234 plants per acre.
  • Biodynamically farmed vineyard from the early plantation, planted in 1999.
  • Harvested the first week of October 2012.
  • Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels.
  • Bottled in September 2013.
Tasting Notes:

Color: Light plum.
Nose: Expansive, meaty, smoky, black currant, edged with licorice.
Palate: Focused to front palate, dry, fresh, black cherry, black currant, tangy, tannin most noticeable on the cheeks and back edges of the tongue. Acid driven.

Day three:  Dark and savory nose. Bright on the palate. Ripe cherry, cranberry, orange pith into the gently dry finish.

Thoughts: This wine made me hungry and crave food. Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.9%
Production: 1,000 Cases
SRP: $50
Sample provided by the winery

Soléna Estate | Hyland Estates | & NW Wine Co.
20980 NE Niederberger Road
Dundee, OR 97115
Open for tastings 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily in Yamhill, Oregon.

About Solena Estate:

Founded in 2001, Soléna Estate is an ultra-premium winery with a focus on Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.  The 80-acre biodynamically farmed vineyard, located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, is home to Dijon clone vines, sheep, and chickens. The Soléna Estate, complete with a Winery and Tasting Room set among rolling hills and lakes, serves as the foundation of a lasting legacy the Montalieus will leave for their daughter and the brand’s namesake, Soléna.

After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu created an exciting new family operated winery, Soléna Cellars. Soléna is the combination of the French and Spanish words "Soleil" and "Luna" celebrating the sun and the moon, and the name that Laurent and Danielle gave to their daughter.

Soléna Cellars began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family's young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard matured. Today, Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyard in Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton appellation as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.

Related post: Oregon Wine Country Discovery Tour



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