Every day is a special occasion. Open a bottle of Col Solare and celebrate!
My #DrinkTheGoodWine choice for this week was Col Solare. The product of a joint partnership between wine giants Chateau St. Michelle of Washington State and Marchesi Antinori of Tuscany, this wine is recognized as one of the top wines of the Northwest and by far one of my favorite Washington Red Wines. I was fortunate to receive an autographed bottle of the 2006 Col Solare over a year ago from then winemaker, Marcus Notaro. A very unassuming, down to earth, approachable yet impressive guy who crafted a wine much like himself. Col Solare doesn’t show off, no pomp or circumstance, it’s quiet and unassuming on the outside. Its label says it’s a “Red Wine” and I love that. You may not always expect much from a wine labeled so simply “red wine” but when you open the bottle of Col Solare, what you get is a complete and wonderful surprise. This bold red wine is considered a Bordeaux blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah. It’s full of ripe fruit but with elegance and finesse; it’s a bit earthy, it’s rich and aromatic yet approachable with flavors of berries, ripe black fruit and toasty notes; and it is so drinkable that you can simply enjoy it by itself or with a nice juicy steak, as I did. This wine doesn’t say a lot before you open the bottle, but after you pop that cork… watch out. It has a lot to say, and it’s all good. It’s bold and beautiful, full-bodied and intense with a finish that lingers so that you can enjoy it for hours while chatting with friends over a beautiful meal. I say it’s always what’s on the inside that counts. Wouldn’t you agree?
I must tell you that we hesitated at first to open this bottle of 2006 Col Solare as I probably wouldn’t have opened it for many, many years, if ever. I think it was a YOLO (You Only Live Once) moment! After all, the 2006 vintage was the first vintage produced at their Red Mountain location, and the bottle is autographed by the winemaker, Marcus Notaro, who, to make this bottle even more valuable, handed the reigns over to his equally impressive winery partner Darel Allwine and is now crafting wines for the prestigious Stag’s Leap Winery in Napa, also a St. Michelle-Antinori joint venture. When you have something autographed it usually requires that you preserve it and show it off in a case, right? Doesn’t that increase its value as a collectible? However, much like this wine, I’m not interested in showing off with all glitz and no substance. I knew I wanted to drink this bottle one day, someday, for a special occasion. Based on the quality of this wine it would age quite well for many years. Wine collectors out there will probably call me foolish for opening it now, but since I am on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen and determined not be a part of the Procrastinators of Pleasure Club (are you a member? Find out), I decided that to “Drink The Good Wine” meant this nice bottle of Col Solare would be enjoyed sooner rather than later. And I’m glad I did.
I paired the Col Solare with a simple grilled New York Strip steak seasoned with Montreal Seasoning with a nice charred crust on the outside and grilled carrots and onions on the side. It was a great combination as it showed the lush fruit, hint of chocolate and little bit of spice in the wine. Honestly I think I could have had anything with it and still enjoyed it immensely! In the past I have also paired it with the amazing Grilled Buffalo and Blueberry Sauce at Everglades Restaurant in Rosen Centre Hotel which was truly spectacular. Buffalo is a great choice of pairing and not one you usually have at home so if you get a chance to go out and try that combination, do so. It is outstanding!
The 2006 vintage scored 93 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate and 92 points from Wine Spectator. Later vintages have rated equally well if you like to follow points ratings. The current release of Col Solare is their 2009 vintage, however you can also find 2008 Col Solare for purchase online for around $76. Expect to find Col Solare on the wine list of great hotels and restaurants around town for at least $140. When you see it, order it. I guarantee that whatever day it is, it will become a special occasion.
So are you going to “Drink The Good Wine” Tonight?
Every day we are alive, whether it’s your birthday or a Monday is a special occasion. Celebrate it with a nice bottle of wine. Col Solare is a good place to start!”
Lastly I want to say “Cheers!” to my friend Lori Barranon for introducing me to this spectacular wine. Thank you!
For more information on Col Solare wines, visit their website.