The Demystified Vine

Taking the mystery out of wine exploration!

Well, hello there, Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc. Nice to drink you. –Me

Let’s take a little poll here, shall we? You can answer yes or no or maybe. However, you can only say maybe if you are leaning towards a no, and then go out and try this wine. I make these tough rules because I’m sure you’ll change your mind after trying this artisan beverage.

Question: Can wine be sexy?

You think about it. I’m going to put my own opinion out there and say definitely. That wasn’t an option, you say? Oh it is; “definitely” is a synonym for “yes.”

This was sexy at first sip. I should really say “sexy at first smell,” because I always smell the wine before I taste it, but moving on… This is one agreeable white blend, folks. Clos du Soleil’s Fumé Blanc is an exceptional mix of the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon varietals, 98% and 2% respectively.

Characteristics of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal include green herbaceous qualities and some types of fruit depending on where the varietal was grown. The style of the Semillon varietal leans toward citrus-based flavors and smells, and it is very susceptible to noble rot, which is why it is regularly used for dessert wines. You might be wondering why there is only a 2% addition of Semillon in this blended wine. According to Jim Ainsworth in White Wine Guide, Semillon “is the ‘fat one’ of the Laurel and Hardy duo, lending weight to the partnership and, by dint of its ability to age gracefully, prevent[s] many a thin Sauvignon Blanc from falling embarrassingly flat on its face before the end of the first reel” (123). Don’t think Sauvignon Blanc a weakling, though, like Ainsworth does. This varietal is easily a top-ten pick amongst wine lovers, and Sauvignon Blanc is made into phenomenal, award-winning wines. Oh, and Clos du Soleil knows all about award-winning wines. Just check out their website for their award listing. Don’t take my word for it. These guys and gals are getting 90+ points on their wines!

I spoke with Spencer Massie, one of the owners of Clos du Soleil, and asked him, “Why does the Fumé Blanc help contribute to the overall sophistication of Clos du Soleil’s wines?” His response:

With the exception of the Grower’s Series, our project with a select handful of our neighbours in the Similkameen, Clos du Soleil is focused strictly on Bordeaux varietals – and we draw our inspiration for our Fumé Blanc from France. It’s quite different than the California style – in fact let’s call it “BC Fumé Blanc” – and ours is a different expression of the same grapes used in Capella – our classic Bordeaux blanc style top-tier white – with barrel fermentation adding a roundness to the wine with just a hint of smokiness.

As an everyday wine, it allows people who are just discovering Clos du Soleil to try something at the entry level – and it is an exceptional value wine, in my honest opinion.

Funny – but when I’m doing tastings and people ask me for a Chardonnay – I always let them try the Fumé Blanc – and they love it because of that roundness normally associated with that varietal.

What do I love about the Fumé Blanc? You got it! It’s sexy. Sophisticated sexy, with a beautiful clear, lemon green hue. On the nose, this attractive white boasted of gooseberry, lemon-lime, peach, pear, and white grapefruit. What I loved about every sip was the light wafts of vanilla that came off this new French oak fermented wine. In the mouth, a more herbaceous tone revealed itself, with a lovely citrus backbone. The wine was perfectly oaked, and was not overpowering the delicate, and yet complex, flavour profile of the palate. This is probably due to the fact that the wine was fermented in puncheons; a wine cask made to hold approximately 320 litres of liquid. The overall exposure of wine touching oak was absolutely balanced. The finish was surprisingly long, and I wasn’t complaining. For a white, the acidity was crisp and clean, and not tart like many new world whites. This wine is definitely in my good books. I tend to enjoy drinking whites, albeit not as much as reds. That being said, this white was unpredictably multifaceted on both the bouquet and the palate. I am a seriously happy gal.

Clos du Soleil is a proud supporter of organic farming practices, and as a result, you can be confident that the folks in this Similkameen Valley winery will continue to provide top-notch wines for years to come.

Cheers!

For more information on Clos du Soleil, their artisan wines, and where to find them, please click here. This wine is available at select BC Liquor Stores for $19.90.

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