When two world famous wineries merge, great things can happen. Col Solare was created when the Antinori family (one of the most famous families of Tuscany) and Chateau St. Michelle came together to form a winery. Starting with their first vintage in 1995, Col Solare’s mission has been to amalgamate these two distinct viticultural and winemaking backgrounds to create a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine from choice Red Mountain fruit. The result is one of the finest and most consistent Washington Red blend.
Col Solare recently set up a tasting room in Chateau St. Michelle Winery. They are appointment only, but offer a really fantastic retrospective of their wines. Their tasting room in eastern Washington offers gorgeous panoramas of Red Mountain. It is a wold class facility where you can try one of Washington's great wines.
Col Solare makes only two wines. Their signature blend, Col Solare, is typically made from around 70 percent Cabernet, depending on the vintage. Their second wine is called Shining Hill and is better than many winery's first wines.
I was able to taste multiple vintages of Col Solare at the winery. Both the 2008 and 2009 earned high marks, although I see them as a slight step behind the outrageously good 2007. Here are the wines that I tried a Col Solare, one of Washington's best.
2008 Col Solare- Rich nose with anise, Christmas spice and provencale herbs. Palate is medium bodied and balanced. Blackberry, red currant, black olive and red cherry with fine grained tannins. Drinking great now but could also be cellared for a year. -92
2009 Col Solare- Rich nose and incredibly perfumed. Ripe raspberries, crème de cassis and oak. Palate has cassis, blackberry and smoke. Tannic and slightly shut down. This will be a monster in 2 years, so cellar for at least 2. -94
2009 Component Collection Cabernet- This is a new project for Col Solare, a 97% Cabernet wine with 3% Cab Franc. Slightly alcoholic with boysenberry preserves. Palate is rich wit some light tannins. Blackberry, anise and cassis. Needs 2 years of cellaring. -92
2010 Shining Hill-This is Col Solare's second wine. Intense smoke with blackberry and cassis on the nose. Palate is medium bodied but balanced. The winemaking is there. Cran-cherry, pomegranate and red cherry with light tannins. Drink now. -90