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A Col Solare Afternoon

This April weekend had the perfect weather for wine tasting in the Columbia Valley. A gentle wind, with equally gentle clouds, allowed for just enough warmth to create the perfect spring afternoon. Today’s afternoon was perfect for visiting Col Solare winery on Red Mountain.

Col Solare vineyard view.
My wife took me out to Col Solare this afternoon. I went willingly. Our last visit to Col Solare was October 2010 for their 2007 release. The warm, partially cloudy day had me in the mood for a short drive and some world-class wine. The word is not out yet that Col Solare is open on the weekend*. So there were only four people at the winery when we arrived. Our hostess was fantastic, friendly, informative and directed us to a perfect paring of wine and food. We enjoyed marvelous Col Solare wines, food from their Chicchetti menu and great conversation with our hostess and two wine lovers from Redmond and Issaquah.

*Col Solare used to be closed to the public, last year they started opening on special weekends for serious wine tasters. 

You won’t find complimentary wine tasting at Col Solare. But, you will discover some of Washington State’s best wines, available by the glass and by the bottle. They also have a Chicchetti Menu, with assorted savory offerings, perfect for enjoying with Col Solare and  Shining Hill wines.

Col Solare and Shining Hill wines.
Today I learned about Col Solare’s second label, Shining Hill.
Shining Hill wines are available only at the winery. Not being familiar with Shining Hill wines, I opted for the vertical flight of Shining Hill. The vertical flight included 2006, 2007 and 2008 Shining Hill wines for $14 (a great deal).

Shining Hill Flight: 
2006 is 56% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah (loved it).
2007 is 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 1% Carmenere (seemed a bit closed today).
2008 Shining Hills is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc (loved this wine with our Antipasti plate).

After the lovely flight of Shining Hill wines, I enjoyed a glass of the 2005 Col Solare while my wife sipped the 2006 Col Solare. I adored the ’05 Col Solare, dark, inky, and the extra time in the bottle has merged the flavors of this wine, very elegant and even better the longer it breathed. I truly enjoyed myself this afternoon at Col Solare. It was a lot of fun and the conversation was as engaging as the wine. We’re big fans now.

FYI: next weekend Col Solare is hosting a “Wild and Exotic” Winemaker’s Dinner on April 16th. The menu includes: 2008 Shining Hill, 2006 Col Solare, 2005 Col Solare, 2003 Col Solare, 2007 Col Solare, 1998 Col Solare, 2007 Ethos Late Harvest Rielsing, paired with, among other items, Tempura Rattlesnake, Emu Tartar, Smoked Pheasant, Roosevelt Elk, Seared Ostrich, Turtle Soup, Alligator Sausage, and more. We’re still not sure if we will be able to attend, but we want to.

Col Solare Winery: Open this season on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5pm.



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