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January 2018
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Solis Wine Bottle

2009 Solis Winery Fiano Estate

So I can’t say I was angry, but I will say I was disappointed. The wine was nothing short of superb, but my fellow panelists simply didn’t get it.

To set the stage, the “other” whites category at large wine competitions are, shall we say, is The Land of the Misfit Toys. If you’ve never tasted these sorts of wines, well, generally you aren’t missing much. Often times they are comprised of the end-lots of what didn’t make the cut of better quality wines, all mixed up, given a fancy name and sold over the counter at tasting rooms. A winery marketing director will pay a small fee to enter the obscure blend into the competition hoping it will get some recognition to help sell the inventory which would otherwise be flushed.

Fiano is a relatively obscure grape (unless you are from the Campania region of Italy). As a single varietal it absolutely stands on its own. However, because it is not chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, or another widely cultivated grape, in competitions it stands alone. But it must have a caterogy, so among the “other” category it falls.

Hum drumming through many of these drinkable-yet-uninspired wines I was stopped dead in my tracks. I tasted, sniffed, and re-tasted again. I set it aside, completed my flight, and went back to it again. In judging approximately 500 wines this summer, I awarded Gold just over a dozen.

The 2009 Solis Winery Fiano Estate was absolutely without question worthy of the highest award. Unfortunately, my fellow panelists couldn’t figure the wine out. Was it aromatic, was it fruit forward, was it a food wine, or was it just an “other”? Silver was all it was awarded this time.

When any subject is spoken on at length, it is a tribute to its own powerful nature. Unquestionably, this wine was spoken about more than any other at any wine competition I participated in over the last number of years.  In fact, it was the only wine from this major competition I sought out to discover its true identity after the event was completed. 

NOTE:  We taste all the wines blind at these events to avoid any predisposed bias.

It sings of floral aromatics, expresses distinctly new-world fruitiness, and offers a luxurious combination of a mildly creamy texture and perfectly balanced acidity. If you could blend the absolute best characteristics of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and gewürztraminer you can start to paint a picture of what this special wine has to offer.

Due to the rainbow of flavors in concert with the backbone of acidity one could enjoy this wine a huge variety of aromatic dishes. From grilled chicken Caesar salad to Thai food and anything in-between.

Or, as I have been, just sip it on the patio under the setting sun and enjoy the most exciting wine find of the summer. No categories. Just pure pleasure.

Oh yeah, the 2009 Solis Winery Fiano Estate did receive its much deserved Gold at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Ahhh…redemption.

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