Soléna is a combination of two names that mean the sun and the moon. For Danielle and Laurent, Soléna represents the celebration of life as this is the name they gave to their daughter, after her somewhat early, miraculous birth. Their Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and upcoming Syrah were made to be enjoyed with family and friends during lifes victories both big and small.
Danielle Andrus Montalieu
With more than a decade of experience in the wine industry, Danielle Andrus Montalieu has left Archery Summit winery to start her own wine label with her husband, Laurent Montalieu and daughter Soléna.
After the birth of Soléna, I realized that I wanted to get back to the basics. The basics for her include spending more time with her family, making a small amount of high quality wine, and returning to a time when life was simpler.
Danielles father, Gary Andrus, started Pine Ridge Winery when she was ten. The winery was actually a small cellar under a two bedroom farm house, she reminisces.
During her early years, Danielle worked in the administration, the cellar, and the hospitality departments of Pine Ridge Winery. While in college she continued her wine education by working in retail wine stores, and as a wine steward for a small restaurant. During this time Pine Ridge winery grew to a 100,000 case winery. This success allowed Nancy Andrus, Gary Andrus, and their new partners, Leucadia, to create an additional winery in Oregon, Archery Summit.
Moving to Oregon was the logical choice for me, the native Oregonian states. Oregons wine community is exciting and youthful. It was almost like returning to the time when Pine Ridge was first being created.
Archery Summit Winery provided her
with a wonderful education, but when her father retired, she knew it was
time to leave. Developing Archery Summit Winery with my father was
a great joy for me, one I will always cherish.
Moving up to our property this past October was so exciting. From our window we see our new vineyard and the place where Laurent and I were married.
The property holds special meaning for the couple, and they look forward to raising Soléna in this environment. In a way, life has become a full circle for me, Danielle smiles.
Laurent Montalieu took his first steps
in a vineyard in Medoc owned by his great grandfather, Pierre Joseph Montalieu.
He grew up on the Caribbean island of
With a renewed interest in wine, he immersed himself in studies of vineyard management and winemaking. Upon his graduation in 1987 from the Institute of Oenology of Bordeaux, he worked for Chateau La Tour Blanche near Sauternes, France and Domaine Mumm in California before moving to Oregon.
After seven successful vintages at
Bridgeview Vineyards in Cave Junction, Oregon, Laurent joined WillaKenzie
Estates. Laurent, as a partner and winemaker, shared Bernard and Ronnie
Lacroutes commitment to top quality in the vineyard and winery with
a philosophy of minimal intervention in the production of handcrafted
Laurent is passionate about Pinot Noir
and other varietals he creates as winemaker at WillaKenzie Estates, but
as an artist he is always looking to continue creating wines from other
varietals. Indulging in his art, Laurent first created a private label
called La Merleausine, an experiment in blending Merlot and Zinfandel.
Laurent enjoyed making small quantities of this wine, but wanted to focus
on the purity of the varietals. With this ideology in mind, he broadened
his focus to include Cabernet and Syrah. Thus the four varietals of the
new label, Soléna, were determined, and his business relationship
with Danielle, his wife, was created.
As if Laurent was not active enough in his winemaking career, private label, and commitments to the Oregon wine community, he and Danielle have taken on another new venture: developing their own Pinot Noir vineyard. When asked how he was able to manage so many different activities, he replied, Creating and watching things grow gives me great pleasure. I think if you love what you do, finding time to do it is not a problem. With a young daughter, new label, and a budding vineyard, Laurent is enjoying the fullness of his life!
Soléna 1999 Zinfandel,
Comments: Laurent Montelieu is one of the
few Willamette Valley winemakers with extensive experience making wine
from Southern Oregon fruit, and it shows well in this wine. This is a
tasty and sturdy Zinfandel that-as Danielle Montelieu said to me, would
make a great "pizza picnic" wine! Oregon Zinfandel is a bit
of a rarity, and this is by far the finest I have yet had. The fruit comes
from Wooldridge Creek Vineyard in the Applegate Valley, one of the prettiest
vineyards in Oregon, and a warm site that gently rises up the slope of
a picturesque mountain valley. While the Solena Zinfandel is great for
current consumption, and while Zinfandel generally isn't a great wine
for ageing, I think the structure and tannin in this wine ensure a good
3-5 years of great sipping!