Italian/ Washington Wine
Merger Creating Success
By Fred Delkin
The label reads "Col Solare", Italian for "Shining Hill," and the first vintage so labeled, a 2006 Red blend, tastes like it matches the promse of its maker's label. This is the output of a new facility in the Red Mountain wine district of south central Washington state. The estate winery is the result of a partnership between Washington's Chateau Ste. Michelle and Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori. Winemaker in residence is Marcus Notaro of Antinori. His first effort, the 2006, is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Syrah grapes, harvested in the Columbia Valley and Red Mountain appellations.
The bottling is from a winery boasting state-of-the-art tools to make an optimum result. A variety of techniques were used by Notaro to make a very elegant style, smooth, surprisingly soft and bursting with flavor. The blend was racked every three months during its first 12 months of
aging and every four monahs in the final stage of the 24-month aging in 75% French and 25% American new oak barrels. The grape were all hand-picked, gently de-stemmed and sorted to remove disparate materials. The winemaker states that "the fruit was gently crushed and fermented on the skins for over a week, then gently punched down...and infused with flavor and color."
Our tasting of the bottled elixir gives us confidence to state that this Bordeaux-style claret is an absolutely wonderful expression of the art of red wine production. The partnership set out to achieve this goal and they have succeeded. Seek out '06 Col Solare from a knowledgeable
retailer or sommelier and your tastebuds will tell you this is an ultra luxurious wine well worth its $50-range pricing.
We recently enjoyed Essentia dessert wine from Quady winery of Modesto CA, widely distributed in Oregon and known since its founding for unusual quality. This flavor-packed sipper is available in both 375ml and 750ml sizes and compliments a wide variety of dessert offerings. The Orange Muscat grape is the base for this wine with a smooth and memorable flavor. It reminded this infrequent imbiber of sweet wines that this initial product deserves attention.
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