Solis dates back to before Prohibition. Back then it was owned by the Bertero family, who grew Zinfandel and Carignane. The property stayed in the family until the 1980s when it was purchased by the Vannis. Over the years they have planted several French and Italian vines both at the original site and a second nearby vineyard that is jointly owned and managed.
I last visited Solis around 5 years ago; their wines were clearly way ahead of many other Hecker Pass wineries at the time. All the wines carry the Santa Clara Valley appellation, and most are Estate. Tasting is free.
2007 Fiano Estate, Santa Clara Valley $18 Fiano is an ancient Italian varietal, grown mainly in the Campania region of southern Italy. If I hadn't been told that I'd have sworn that this was a Viognier. Floral nose; crisp, fruity palate and a nice finish. Good acidity too; the best non-Chardonnay white wine I've tried in a while. Value Recommended
2007 Vino Roseo, Santa Clara Valley $12 A sweet rose made from Sangiovese. While it has some complexity and nice flavours, it's too sweet for my tastes.
2005 Merlot Estate, Santa Clara Valley $24 A little on the oaky side, this had good black fruits with a subtle hint of black olive or bell pepper. Nice finish.
2007 Zinfandel, Santa Clara Valley $18 It's easy to let Zinfandel get too ripe and end up with a fruit bomb that's got 15.5%-17% alcohol. It's much harder to get Zinfandel that's properly ripe, having good acidity without unripe green flavours and still under 14% alcohol, so this was a pleasant surprise. Good raspberry flavour with white pepper notes.
2004 Syrah, Santa Clara Valley $20 Hints of earth and mushroom on the nose. On the palate it's fruity with soft, integrated tannins.
2005 Cara Mia (Meritage), Santa Clara Valley $30 90% Merlot, blended with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Good fruit with a hint of espresso and vanilla. Give it a year in the cellar to integrate.