My wife is the adventurous one. I’m kind of the home body. But, it was her birthday so after a delicious lunch at La Mar Cebicheria in San Francisco, when I mentioned that there were a few wineries out on Treasure Island I could see that gleam in her eye. Yes, I knew we’d be stuck in traffic on the way home and I had planned on having a glass of wine in the back yard but traffic be damned, I decided to give in to adventure. My son was of course on board because, hey, there’s got to be some treasure on Treasure Island right?
The winery there that I’d heard of the most was La Vie because they make a Las Madres Syrah. Right away I was surprised by how much wine has become a part of what Treasure Island markets to tourists. As you come off the exit and down the hill you’re greeted with a huge sign from Winery SF painted onto a warehouse facade.
The real surprise of the visit was Sol Rouge. I hadn’t heard of the winery but, after tasting the delicious wines at Vie, we took a chance and stopped next door at Sol Rouge. I say chance, because I hate tasting at wineries that aren’t any good. If they have Syrah, it’s always awkward when the pourers ask me what I think and I have to try to say something nice. Thankfully that wasn’t the case at Sol Rouge, not by a long shot. I took a bottle of Syrah home and enjoyed it immensely.
The 2011 Sol Rouge Syrah does have a little of that primary fruit California thing but it’s also really elegant and lithe on the palate. On the nose, there’s plum, aromas of mushroom and good minerality and energy with just a touch of oak. I get a bit of a savory, almost soy saucy aroma too. That savoriness carries over to the mid palate and makes for a delicious wine that keeps you salivating for another glass. Beautiful acidity to match and a not-too hot-finish. This is good stuff. I’m so glad I gave in to a little unplanned adventure and stopped by Treasure Island and Sol Rouge.
Bryan Kane does the winemaking at Sol Rouge and this particular day his assistant winemaker Marc Ventre was pouring the wines. Bryan is the mastermind behind a lot of the Treasure Island Wineries, both Winery SF and Vie are his projects.
The fruit from Sol Rouge comes from a steeply-sloped estate in the Red Hills appellation in Lake County that Bryan owns. It’s all planted with a high-density protocol that Bryan believes minimizes grape cluster production on each vine, therefore concentrating flavors.
The 2011 Syrah was vinified in a hands-off style and aged in 20% new oak.
I enjoyed the other wines I tasted at Sol Rouge also, they have a mostly Rhone focus which is right up my alley. They also sell wine by the glass and there’s even a bocce court. It’s definitely a place we’ll head back to if the weather ever warms up again here in the Bay Area.