Antinori’s Super Tuscans, Solaia and Tignanello, and his marketing of Sassicaia helped turn the Italian wine industry upside down in the 1970s. Partnering with Chateau Ste. Michelle, he created Col Solare (Italian for “shining hill”) in the Red Mountain AVA of the Columbia Valley, Washington. Red-hued native grass that grows on the slopes of Red Mountain gives the mountain its name.
The 2009 Col Solare is rich, full of flavor, offers aromatics, and tastes of “crushed berries, cassis, black fruit, and tobacco along with a rich and silky palate and a lingering finish” — according to the winemaker, and his description is right on target. However, for a wine that costs (at time I purchased it) $75, it has one disappointing feature that may have an explanation but is still something I want you to be aware of in a wine.
Served at 61 degrees, the aromas were very impressive when the cork was popped, but they began to fade a little in 30 minutes and continued to disappear over the next two hours. Two other comparable wines did not. Col Solare seemed to “tighten” more as time went by. True, gripping tannins frame this wine’s rich flavors, and it may be that they were hiding the fruit. More age will soften the tannins and perhaps allow the fruit more freedom of expression, so taste this wine in a few years. It may also be that this vintage was not the best for the microclimate. The finish is long and all signs of quality are there except for the one described above. Oh, so wonderful and promising on its opening, but a quality wine should hold its aromas longer, in my opinion, if they are so full and rich for the first 30 minutes. We must wait and see what happens as it ages.
I like this AVA. The small berries and ideal terroir combine to produce the possibility of wines of great distinction. Watch this winery too. It could unfold to be one of the best in the nation.
Did I enjoy the wine? Yes, very much. Share and drink it with rich food to compliment its richness but, as of now, don’t expect it to be the same the next day.
Details: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. 14.5% alcohol.
Rating: 90. It would have been two points higher if it had kept its powerful and rich first impression.
No emotional rating yet.
You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my book, “Experiencing Colorado Wine,” and you’ll find the description of the pairing of several of them with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.
GET YOUR COPY during our “SUMMER OF WINE” Sale at SQUARE MARKET FOR $20!
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