Clos du Soleil – Old World elegance … New World edge!


Clos du Soleil is a small artisan winery and estate vineyard on the South Similkameen Valley Upper Bench.  They produce ultra-premium quality wines in a Bordeaux style with the motto Old World elegance … New World edge!  The name refers to the mountain that towers above the back of our property forming a natural enclosure to the North, trapping the sun’s heat and reflected rays, necessary for great grape production.

Having fallen in love with the Similkameen Valley and its potential for producing world-class wines, a group of investors led by founding shareholder Spencer Massie, acquired a 10-acre vineyard on the Similkameen Valley’s Upper Bench in 2005, and by 2006 had planted the vineyard with the Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The goal was to produce elegant, and age-worthy wines with a philosophy borrowed from the finest chateaux of Bordeaux, but stamped with the unmistakable flavours of the Similkameen.

Clos Du Soleil changed when Michael Clark, now managing partner and winemaker, joined the winery in 2012 and repatriated production from rented space in a Kelowna winery to the new winery on its Similkameen vineyard. The new winery enabled Clos du Soleil to raise production to about 5,000 cases.

The Winemaker

closMichael Clark runs the business, as well as the production side of Clos du Soleil. Following 14 years as a successful investment manager in North America and Europe, Michael turned his life-long obsession with wine and winemaking into his day-job.  It is Michael’s attention to detail which ensures that every bottle of Clos du Soleil wine captures the essential flavours of our land, our seasons and our vines.
Michael trained in winemaking at the University of California, Davis, and had prior winery experience from Geneva, Switzerland, and Bordeaux, France.  At Clos du Soleil it is Michael’s goal to marry biodynamic viticulture and the unique terroir of the Similkameen Valley with old-school winemaking in order to produce age-worthy wines of elegance and character.

The Wines

2013 estate reserve (1)Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve White 2013  Sauvignon Blanc 62%, Semillon (38%), alcohol 12.8%.  The first ever white Estate Reserve from Clos du Soleil, this wine is a true “vin de terroir” – a wine which speaks directly of that very special small patch of stony soil on which it was grown.  The wine is a dense assemblage of lime peel, wet stone, and grapefruit aromas. On the palate, the wine is bone dry, with a strong and clean acidic structure, with loads of minerality piercing the green citrus and Anjou pear flavours, all the way through to the long, lingering finish. The firm structure will allow this to age for years. This elegant wine is the very definition of the wind-swept and stony Similkameen Valley.

Clos du Soleil Rose 2015 This full-bodied and complex rosé, produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, offers layers of ripe fruit flavours and delightful strawberry hues. A rich aromatic profile of ripe, juicy strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb pie. The palate explodes with the same flavours: wild strawberry, raspberry jam, and red rhubarb reinforced by crisp acidity and an underlying minerality. The finish is long and full, yet refreshing.  Almost sold out!

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 53%, Merlot 27%, Cabernet Franc 13%, Petit Verdot 6%, Malbec 1%, alcohol 13.2%. The wine is a highly perfumed and expressive wine, displaying a layered complexity and offers a beautiful violet and other floral notes, followed by ripe fruit aromas, dominated by raspberry and blackberry, on a background of cedar and exotic spice. On the palate, the wine is fresh and lively, first showing juicy, fresh raspberries, blackcurrant, flinty stoniness, and spice. The wine is mouth-filling and rich with fine tannins while maintaining a sense of elegance and delicacy.

Clos du Soleil Signature 2013 Merlot 51%, Cabernet Sauvignon 34%, Cabernet Franc 11%, Petit Verdot 2%, Malbec 2%, alcohol 13.8%.  Signature is Clos du Soleil’s flagship Bordeaux-style blend produced by hand and aged for 17 months in French oak barrels. The 2013 vintage, the product of a year of ideal growing conditions, is a standout example of this iconic wine. The wine is a deep brooding purple in colour. The aroma is dense with layered perfumes and notes of cedar, fresh blackberry and cassis, and a hint of cracked black pepper.  On the palate’ the wine bursts with ripe fruit flavours – blackberry, raspberry and red currant – expressed through an elegant, mouth-filling structure and soft, round tannins. Enjoyable in its youth, the fine tannins and beautiful balance of this wine will ensure its ability to age for well over a decade.

For a complete list of Clos du Soleil wines please visit the winery site.

2015 Vintage

Mike Clark shared the following comments.  “The 2015 vintage was an excellent one, and we are really proud of the wines we produced from this year.  It was a very hot year, and if anything this was a challenge for us viticulturally.  However, our focus upon organic and biodynamic practices leads to a higher level of self-regulation in the vines, allowing us to achieve better-balanced wines. The wines speak for themselves: the whites have an intense, fresh, and often floral character that we love  and the reds, still in barrel, show enormous promise.”

Future Plans

“Having just completed the construction of a new winery and tasting room, the entire Clos du Soleil team is really energized about what the future holds for all of us.  We have been growing our volumes over the last few years, and we can continue to do so modestly, but the real focus always is on quality.  Every year we aim to push the boundaries in terms of the quality of our wines, and this will never stop.  Occasionally we come out with new wines, our Syrah 2014 being an example. However, we’d rather not dilute our focus with a range of new wines: the goal of Clos du Soleil will always be to produce a focused selection of the very best wines of our Similkameen terroir.”

Source: Winery background and tasting notes were provided by Clos du Soliel.

Make sure you check out Clos du Soleil the next time you are in the Similkameen Valley