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Featured Wine of the Week – Solminer 2018 “Rubellite”

Happy New Year and welcome to our first Featured Wine of the Week for 2020! Today we’re drinking a wine from Sominer called “Rubellite.”

This wine is 72% Syrah, 27% Grenache, and 1% Riesling. It’s from Santa Ynez Valley in California. If you’ve been following me, you know this is my type of wine. I love wines from this region, and especially Syrahs. So, let’s dive in!

Solminer is a labor of love between a husband and wife team. They were Certified Organic in 2014 and Demeter Certified Biodynamic in 2018. Their focus is on natural wines. They use chickens, donkeys, sheep, bees, fruit trees, native plants, compost, and herb teas(!) to encourage the health of the vineyard. The most notable varietals they planted were the Austrian Grüner Veltliner and Blaufränkisch, which have flourished. Solminer even makes a skin contact “orange” Grüner!

The Rubellite Syrah/Grenache blend we’re drinking today is described as “an experiment gone incredibly well.” It was fermented with natural yeast and spent seven months in neutral French oak. It is unfined and unfiltered. Solminer recommends chilling and drinking it when the weather is warm.

At first glance, this wine was not the typical dark purple color we see in most Syrahs from Santa Ynez region. It was a deep ruby red in the glass. There was the usual cracked black pepper on the nose, followed by cherry pie and grapefruit. As the wine opened up, aromas of candied violets and sweet spices emerged. The cracked black pepper continued on the tongue, along with unripe plum, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, clotted cream and strawberry jam. English tea, anyone? There was great acid, with a medium finish and balanced tannins.

All in all, this was an interesting wine to taste. It was a combination of the expected and traditional with a few surprise twists. It definitely piqued my curiosity, and I will be trying more from Solminer.


  • Solminer
  • 2018 “Rubellite”
  • 72% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 1% Riesling
  • 13% Alcohol
  • 7 months neutral French oak
  • Santa Ynez Valley
  • California, USA

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