Col Solare is a winemaking partnership between Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington state's Chateau Ste. Michelle that began in the vineyards of the Columbia Valley with Piero Antinori's on-going attraction to unique viticultural regions. In 1990, Piero made his first trip to the Columbia Valley. Impressed by the quality and diversity of Washington wines, Antinori began discussing a partnership with Chateau Ste. Michelle that would challenge them both to step out of their own proven perspective to achieve something new. The idea took hold, and Col Solare was born with the 1995 vintage.
Grapes were gently crushed and pumped over twice daily during a ten-day fermentation. At dryness, a portion of the wine went through an extended maceration of about two weeks to increase extract. We moved the wine with gravity into new and one-year-old French oak barrels; each barrel was racked periodically throughout 22 months of barrel aging. Sensational chocolate and caramel aromas join with an earthy note and a hint of tobacco to introduce a wine with generous black currant and black cherry set off by a trace of allspice. Silky with both abundant, soft tannins and plenty of muscle, this is a wine of significant dimension.
"...The terrific 2002 Col Solare is unquestionably the finest to date. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Syrah, it explodes from the glass with aromas of black fruits, tar, and licorice..." -Wine Advocate
Col Solare Winery
Col Solare is the partnership between two influential wine producers who are recognized leaders in their respective regions: Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington state's Chateau Ste. Michelle. Col Solare unites these who unique viticultural and winemaking cultures to produce and ultra-luxurty Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from their winery and estate vineyard on Washington's Red Mountain.
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Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Washington State is exploding onto the world’s wine scene. The second largest wine-producing region in the United States, the number of wineries has more than doubled in the past decade to more than 900 today. The great majority of the state’s 50,000+ acres of vineyards are grown on the east side of the Cascade mountains, where they enjoy 300+ days of sunshine a year, well-draining soils and a diurnal shift ideal for wine grapes.
Washington is not defined by a single grape variety, with nearly 70 varieties to explore. Out of these, the top five are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah. Winemakers and grape growers are driven by a pioneering spirit, and aren’t afraid to experiment with new techniques in an ever-growing quest to make world-class wine. With a state-of-the-art research program, near-perfect growing conditions and the possibility for exponential growth – Washington State is proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.