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Col Solare 2006

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • W&S94
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE91
14.5% ABV
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3.7 14 Ratings
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3.7 14 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromas of black cherry, currants, and blackberry blend with subtle notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Tannins are rich and refined on the finish, a characteristic of Red Mountain fruit, with flavors of berries, black fruit, and cocoa.

72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Syrah

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Col Solare, the joint venture between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Antinori, completed its new Red Mountain facility in time to produce this 2006. Composed largely of cabernet and merlot, the wine buzzes with lithe energy when first poured but shows little else. A day of air brings it into focus with scents of tobacco leaf, cedar and black cherry, the flavors bearing out all those aromatic elements. But it's the wine’s texture—wiry, energetic and completely poised—that may have you returning over and over to the glass. This is seriously elegant, and still very young. Cellar, then serve with herb-crusted lamb chops.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Col Solare is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. The wine was aged in 75% French and 25% American oak, 100% new. Deep crimson-colored, it displays a captivating perfume of sandalwood, lavender, incense, spice box, black cherry, black currant, and a hint of chocolate. Medium-bodied, elegant, and already complex, it has layers of succulent fruit, impeccable balance, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will continue to evolve for another 4-6 years and offer a drinking window extending from 2013 to 2026.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
A polished red, delivering a lively mouthful of blueberry and currant fruit shaded with nice hints of cream and white pepper. The finish lingers seductively. This is distinctive and much smoother in texture than previous vintages. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and others. Drink now through 2014. 11,000 cases made.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
Col Solare, the collaboration between Ste. Michelle and Antinori, brought in the first estate grapes this year, but it will be awhile before it becomes an estate wine. The current vintage uses five varieties from a half dozen vineyards scattered across four different AVAs. It’s soft, fruity and open, with a firm core of black fruits wrapped into lightly smoky, polished tannins.
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Col Solare

Col Solare

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Col Solare, Columbia Valley, Washington
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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-luxury Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from their winery and estate vineyard on Washington's Red Mountain.

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Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

KRU98765_2006 Item# 98765