Retrospective - Col Solare Red Wine Columbia Valley 1999

Col Solare is a collaboration between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italian winemaker Marchese Piero Antinori. The winery released its first vintage in 1995 and opened a dedicated facility on Red Mountain in 2007. Marcus Notaro is the resident winemaker. For the 1999 vintage, winemakers were Ron Bunnell, now of Bunnell Family Cellar, and Renzo Cotarella, head enologist for Marchesi Antinori.







Col Solare Red Wine Columbia Valley 1999

Dried flowers (lavender) and earth combine to produce a beautifully fragrant nose. A deep and rich taste with compact fruit and a tight core of tannins. The mid-palate is loaded with black licorice. Exceptional and not yet at its peak. 70% Cabernet; 25% Merlot; 3% Syrah; 2% Malbec. 14.4% alcohol. 7,000 cases produced.


Sean P. Sullivan


  1. Good question. One of the wonderful things about wine is every vintage is a bit different. Better growing season, longer hang time, etc. I generally expect a fair amount of variability from year to year in terms of how the wine tastes and how it ages, but it also depends on the winery. A recent story regarding vintage variation was the 2004 and 2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernets. The 2004 is drinking exceptionally well at the moment, although I am sure that it will continue to improve over time. The 2003 is a beast of a wine right now that needs a considerable amount of additional bottle time or extended decanting to be properly enjoyed.

    Unfortunately the only way to really tell how a wine is aging is to have a case stashed away and pull a bottle out every now and again and see how it's doing. This obviously gets unlikely for most of us when it comes to these high end wines. My motto is better to open a bit too soon than a bit too late.

    Checking out what the experts have to say in terms of ageability for the 2001 Col Solare, Wine Spectator says "Best from 2006 through 2012." Parker and Wine Enthusiast don't weigh in as best I can tell.

    Looking at Cellar Tracker, the most recent notes come from late last year. Most seem to think it is drinking very well now and should have another few years either at or to its peak.

  2. I appreciate the follow up, thank you!