Archive for the ‘Red Wine’ Category

Cabernet Sauvignon Vs Merlot – What is the Difference?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

women smelling a glass of red wine

Merlot vs Cabernet Sauvignon: A Brief History

Merlot the popular Bordeaux varietal, historic roots date all the way back to the first century. Also known as Petit Merle, Vitraille, Crabutet Noir and Bigney in different areas of the world, Merlot was originally produced in France and said to have evolved from the biturica variety, the first grape cultivated in Bordeaux.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a newer varietal that can be considered the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The oldest recorded Cabernet Sauvignon dates back to the 18th century and like many wines, has different names around the world, including Petit Cabernet, Petit Vidure and Vidure and Uva Francese.


Using a Proper Glass When Drinking Red Wine

Friday, April 29th, 2016


red wine glass on table

Wine glasses are uniquely shaped to provide the best tasting experience possible for the specific type of wine they are meant to hold. Red wines are typically much bolder and fuller tasting than white wines, so they require a special type of glass to make those flavors express themselves.

Most people hear that each wine variety is meant to be served in its own specifically designed glass and assume that tradition emerged as a result of class or distinction. The truth of the matter is that wine glasses of different shapes and sizes actually affect the taste profile of the wine they carry.

Types of Red Wine Glasses

There are three primary types of red wine glasses, each made for a different variety of red wine. The first could be referred to as the classic red wine glass. This glass is much taller than other wine glasses, and it has a deeper bowl. This style of glass is ideal for wines with high acidity and an abundance of tannins. Medium- to full-bodies red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are most often served in this glass.

The second type of red wine glass is shorter than the first, but significantly slimmer. This style of glass is reserved for red wines with high alcohol content and ample tannins, like Zinfandel and Syrah. Full-bodied reds are most commonly served in glasses like these.

The last common type of red wine glass is the shortest, but it actually has a wider base and deeper bowl than the second style. This shape is ideal for wines with low alcohol and minimal tannins, especially light and aromatic wines like Pinot Noir.

Why Does Shape Matter?

Wine is a tricky substance that spends the majority of its life cut off from air. When red wine is first poured into a glass, several things start to happen right away. The aromatic compounds within the wine start to interact with the air, releasing powerful aromas and tastes. You may be familiar with the phrase ‘let the wine breathe’. Red wines most commonly need to breathe in order to fully release the intended experience, and depending on the age of the wine, it could take up to several hours to reach the ideal stage. Younger wines have more tannins and a much higher acid content, so they require more aeration. Red wines that are older than 8 years might only require 30 minutes.

The shape of a red wine glass is meant to help the aeration process along. A wide, deep base provides a larger surface area where air can interact with the wine. The wide bowls are perfect for swirling the wine, which further opens up the liquid to the surrounding air. Each style of wine glass is contoured to react with their own variety of wine in the most optimal way possible.

A proper red wine glass will boost the taste and overall wine drinking experience to a level beyond what otherwise might be enjoyed.


Solis Winery Merlot Wins Best of California and the Double Gold Award

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


Every year the California State Fair showcases the best of best in the most populous state in the US, California.  The fair is home to musical performances, special events, rides, exhibits and of course some of the most interesting snacks California has to offer.  This year there were record breaking numbers for attendance, over 3000 exhibits and a great turnout for all of the competitions.


5 Tips for Cleaning Red Wine Spills

Monday, February 9th, 2015

A vintage red wine is the perfect way to enjoy a meal or unwind after a long day at work. Unfortunately, if it’s spilled on your clothing or carpet, it can become quite troublesome. To help, below are five tips for cleaning red wine spills.

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

One tool you can use to remove a red wine stain is hydrogen peroxide. It is included in small amounts in many household products such as disinfectants. Look to see if you have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet.

If you find it, you can apply it directly to the stain. Next, rinse the fabric out with cold water and then put it in your washing machine with some regular strength laundry detergent. The stain should be removed after the washing cycle ends. This remedy works best with clothing and linens. It’s not the best option for carpet.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda, however, may be even better at fighting red wine stains than hydrogen peroxide. This is especially the case if the stain is on carpet. The first step to using this remedy is simply sprinkling the stain with baking soda.

Second, pat the baking soda covered stain with a damp cloth until it changes into a paste like form. At this point, the stain should turn from red to blue. You may be able to lift it directly out of the cloth or carpet. Baking soda can also be added to stained clothing before it’s put into the laundry.

3. Salt

Salt is probably not as effective as baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Still, if you don’t have those on hand, salt may be your next best option. Keep this tip in mind if you ever accidentally spill some red wine on yourself at a restaurant.

Sprinkle the salt on the stain and pat it in. The chemical composition of salt causes it to draw the moisture out of things. It could do this with red wine. After applying the salt, rinse with some cold water.

4. White Wine

This may seem strange, but you can actually fight a red wine stain with white wine. If you have both on hand, this may be a good option. Dab the red wine stain with a clothed dipped in white wine. After doing so, throw the fabric into the washing machine with some laundry detergent. It may do the trick.

5. Wine Away

Lastly, there are products that are created with the sole intent of removing wine stains. Most of them are simple enough to use, you just spray directly onto a red wine stain. After waiting 30 seconds for the solution to take effect, the stain can be rubbed out until it disappears.

If you drink a lot of red wine, you may want to consider a product like Wine Away. The standard two ounce bottle is also small enough that it can be conveniently stored in a purse.




2014 Syrah Harvest

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

We are harvesting our 2014 Estate Syrah today (7.01 tons to be exact). Syrah, known as Shiraz in some parts of the world, is a major grape variety indigenous to the Rhone wine region in France. Often used as a blending grape in France, we use it here primarily as a strict varietal.

The Syrah grape is a dark purple to black color, and is much more plump and fleshy than our other varieties. It is a heavy producer yet abnormally high in pH, which produces a rounder, softer wine than varieties like Sangiovese.

Wine produced from our Estate Syrah are unique in aroma and flavor–typically qualities include smoke, tobacco and leather, lending itself as a fine accompaniment to smoked beef or pork dishes. Also, because it has a lower acid level, it is best to avoid pairing with acidic dishes like lasagna or high acid BBQ sauces.

Although the 2014 Syrah is in its infancy today, our gold-medal-winning 2010 Estate Syrah is available to try now. Pair with smoked spare ribs or a classic beef sirloin stew.

Interesting Facts About Cabernet Sauvignon

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Cabernet Sauvignon is known as “King of the Red Grapes,” but as far as grapes go, Cabernet Sauvignon is relatively young and considered to be a new variety. The grape emerged in France in the 17th century and is actually a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which is where the name is derived. Interesting right? Well we have some other fun facts for you on the King.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is one of your favorite wines, you should enjoy these interesting facts about the prominent grape varietal.

Cabernet Sauvignon Has Its Own Day

You may not need any excuses to air out a bottle of “Cab Sav,” but if you do this will be a great reason to do so. Have you heard of Cabernet Day? Well it’s a worldwide celebration of the delightful cabernet grape variety.  Every August, on the Thursday before Labor Day, it’s celebration time. How do you participate?  Buy a bottle of your favorite Cabernet, invite some friends over and have a good time.  Easy enough right?

Well, make sure you participate this year. We’ve told you about it, so you have no excuse.

Has The King Been Dethroned?

We all known Cabernet Sauvignon as the King of the Red Grapes, but is it still King? Maybe in our hearts, as Merlot has recently surpassed Cabernet as the most widely planted premium red wine grape.  Up until about 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon had the edge on Merlot with about 650,000 acres. With that said, Cabernet Sauvignon will always be King, even if it is just in our hearts.

Green Bell Pepper Anyone?

One of the noted characteristics in Cabernet Sauvignon is the green bell pepper flavor and aroma.  The green bell pepper you’re smelling is actually from Pyrazine. Pyrazine is an aromatic organic compound that is present in all Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  The longer the grapes are in sunlight and have the chance to ripen the less herbaceous or green bell pepper you’ll notice.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate 2009

Be sure to check out our Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate 2009.  It has Bright, clear purplish-red color. Gorgeous initial aromas resembling ripe dark berries with hints of dust and vanilla. Medium-bodied with entry flavors of cherry and berries, notes of cocoa and dust lead to a long, lingering, sweet toasted oak finish.

Come Visit Us Here At Solis

If you happen to be in the Gilroy area, come by and visit us for a wine tasting and a tour of our winery. And remember to celebrate Cabernet Day this year at the end of August.

Syrah – The Legend of Syrah

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Syrah (also known as Shiraz) is a dark-skinned red wine grape. The origins of the grape have been disputed and debated but recent research conducted in 1999 found Syrah to be the offspring of two grapes from south eastern France; Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche.  In Australia, Syrah is referred to as Shiraz and is known to be the country’s national grape. The grape varietal arrival in Australia is attributed to the Scotsman James Busby, who brought the vines back to Sydney on a trip from Europe in the 1830’s.

Origin of the Name

There are many myths surrounding how the name Syrah came to be and also legends linking Syrah to the ancient city of Shiraz in Iran (Persia is modern day Iran) that produced wine. This is partly due to James Busby, the Scotsman who brought the vine to Australia, wrote in a journal in an 1826 book that the plant was brought from Shiraz. However, at this point the orgin is unclear, but the grapes prominence has risen all over the world including: France, United States, Switzerland, Argentina and Australia.

Deep, Dark and Flavorful

Syrah is one of the darkest full-bodied red wines, with moderate acidity and medium tannins. The flavor profile will depend largely on the region that produced the wine, but traditionally, flavors may include berry fruit flavors such as blackberry, boysenberry or blueberry. Other flavors may include olive, hints of pepper, vanilla or tobacco.   And the wine is usually produced in oak barrels.

If you’re interested in Syrah, try our award winning Syrah, Estate 2009.

Gold Medal, New World International Wine Competition

Rich, deep dark garnet color. Complex opening aromas of blueberry, cherry, cassis, plum and tobacco. This big, soft wine has intricate, overlapping layers of flavors reminiscent of blueberries, plum, coffee, tobacco and black pepper leading to a medium-length finish with hints of maple. Suggested pairings include: beef and barley stew, black pepper crusted grilled New York steak, beef stroganoff, mushroom risotto and smoked gouda.


Visit Solis Winery

If you are in the Gilroy area, we’d love to have you at the winery for a wine tasting. If you’re unable to visit, check out our specific wines online or take a look at our wine club for exclusive member’s only deals and wines.

Basic Wine Guide for Beginners

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Here’s a Basic Wine Guide from the folks over at Wine Folly.  It includes different types of wine, wine glasses, calories in wine, and some tasting tips.  Everything is right here in one info-graphic:


Sangiovese Wine Grape

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Sangiovese is a red grape varietal and the most common planted red grape in Italy, more specifically Tuscany.  Sangiovese has over 14 clones of which Brunello is the most regarded. Sangiovese has many names and is commonly referred to as: Nielluccio, Sangioveto, Sangiovese Grosso, Sangiovese Piccolo, Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, and Morellino.

Chianti, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano are some of the more popular blends that use Sangiovese.  Sangiovese is also used in varietal wines Sangiovese di Romagna and of course Brunello di Montalcino.


Zinfandel – Rich Dark and Beautiful

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Zinfandel, meaning the red wine, is a red grape varietal.   The grape was originally thought to have origins in Italy as the grape appears to be a clone of Primitivo variety, traditionally grown in Puglia, but recent research indicates that Zinfandel existed in Croatia longer than anywhere else.  Whatever the origin of the grape, and whether it be “White Zin” which is made from the red Zinfandel grape, or “Zinfandel”, which is the red wine version,  today the wine is appreciated and loved by wine enthusiast around the world.

Zinfandel is grown around the globe 

The grape was introduced to Italy in the 18th Century and was first cultivated in the United States in the mid-19th Century. Zinfandel is now widely known and very popular in the California wine industry, but it is also harvested in other states including: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Ohio.  In addition to the United States, Primitivo is still grown in Puglia, and according to a 2008 Wall Street Journal article by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, Primitivo is estimated to be the country’s 12th most widely planted grape variety.

In general, the thin skinned grapes of Zinfandel are grown best in mild to warm climates that are not too hot as the grapes may deteriorate in extreme hot weather.  This is one of the main reasons the grape is grown in over 10% of California vineyards including Solis Winery.