Saturday, February 16, 2019

Old and New World Combine with Col Solare

I haven’t had too much exposure to the wines of Washington state, but the ones I have tried I have enjoyed.  It’s an area I must explore more of for sure.  I was introduced to the Col Solare Winery and was intrigued by the story since it’s a partnership of 2 prominent figures in the wine industry: Piero Antinori of the famous Marchesi Antinori family of Tuscany and Ted Baseler of Chateau St. Michelle Wine Estates.  

If you’re not familiar with the Antinori family they are best known for their production of Sassicaia and Tignanello introduced in the 70’s.  They integrated a number of elements into their winemaking, which was unheard of at the time like international grapes like cabernet sauvignon and use of barriques. 

What brought Piero Antinori to WA?  He journeyed there in 1992 encouraged by St. Michelle’s consultant at the time, Andre Tchelistcheff, a historical winemaker in California’s wine industry post Prohibition.  He felt a lot of old world characteristics that appealed to him therefore encouraging the beginning the partnership of what we see today with Col Solare. 

The Winery 
Col Solare is located in the Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultual Area) of the Columbia Valley in Washington.  The winery’s primary focus is on cabernet sauvignon, but they also have planted some of the bordeaux varietals like syrah, merlot and cabernet franc along with some carmenere and malbec. 
Col Solare Winery in Red Mountain AVA
Copyright of Col Solare
The Land 
Red Mountain is named after the color of the red toned grass that grows in this area.  Previously an eddy from the time of Missoula floods, the combination of soils and climate provides a great area for the production of cabernet sauvignon.  It’s the warmest wine appellation of WA state therefore producing wines that are full, ripe and aromatic.   

The Antinori’s influence of orientation, spacing and density of the grapes was made similar to their vineyards in the region of Tuscany and Umbria.  I haven’t been out to this winery myself, but the pictures of their radial pattern orientation of the vineyards emulating rays of sunshine from the winery itself is stunning.   
Col Solare cabernet sauvignon Red Mountain
Copyright of Col Solare

The Wine 
Col Solare stands for shining hill.  This is where my Italian language lessons over the years pay off: Col as in colline, hills, and sole for sun.  This wine was first released in 1995 and later in 2007 the partnership found the perfect site for them to establish their new winery and vineyards where they could combine old and new world style and traditions.  The 2014 Col Solare is produced of 85% cabernet sauvignon, 9% cabernet franc, 4% merlot and 2% syrah.  This is a celebratory vintage for them as it celebrates their 20th vintage.  Deep in color, this is an intense, full bodied wine with structure and complex characteristics of black cherries, cassis, chocolate notes and baking spices.  This wine is bold, but also has elegance at the same time.  ABV 14.5% SRP $75 (not inexpensive on the pockets, but a special wine indeed)

*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.

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