Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Taste of Red Mountain in Woodinville

"Come to Red Mountain," the siren song beckoned.

"Huh?" responded an ever-eloquent wine journalist by the name of Josh.

"300 days of hot sunshine...the finest vineyards in the state...world class wine...Col Solare," she responded.

"But siren, that's three(ish) hours from my cozy Seattle nest!" I retorted.

"COL SOLARE." screamed siren.

"Col Solare always makes a compelling point, but it's Wednesday night and I have to work in the morning." I wistfully cried.

"Bottega...Bottega...Bottega...Woodinville...Bottega." said siren, and with that, it was a done deal.

It was, in fact, my lucky day as this siren took shape in the form of Grace Doyle, a friendly representative of Col Solare and the Bottega in question was Col Solare's new location, offering a "Taste of Red Mountain" on the West Side. Located within the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, the Bottega tasting room and wine shop was created to offer visitors the chance to taste, purchase, and enjoy Col Solare wines on the west side of the Cascade Mountains.  Woodinville being significantly closer than Red Mountain, I was in the car before you even pop the cork headed to the grand opening of the Bottega. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Bottega is an Italian word for "shop".

If you don't happen to be familiar with Col Solare, you really should read this blog more often.  Seriously.    We've written about the wine a number of times, because frankly, it's that good; often our celebratory wine of choice. A partnership between Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington's Chateau Ste. Michelle, Col Solare was founded with the sole purpose of producing the best damn red bordeaux blend in Washington. Since the first vintage in 1995, Col Solare is now producing 5000 - 10,000 cases annually and are getting pretty darn close to achieving the mission.

At the Bottega grand opening, I had the opportunity to spend some time with winemaker Marcus Notaro looking into the future of the wine and winery, and I can confidently say the best is yet to come. After a move to the Red Mountain estate in 2007, Marcus has slowly been crafting an identity for Col Solare; an identity centered around the attributes of that appellation: rich, flavorful fruit from high heat, the kind of heat where the vines really have to struggle to produce. Today, the estate vineyard is 5 years old and it's fruit comprises a growing percentage of the final blend. Eventually, Marcus hopes to take Col Solare to a Red Mountain designate wine...and someday, an estate blend. As if hearing the story of the wine directly from the winemaker wasn't enough for this wine geek, Marcus brought samples. I tasted through the 2008 and 2009 vintages as well as some early barrel samples from 2010: merlot, malbec, cabernet france, and cabernet sauvignon all from the estate vineyard. So, when I say there are great things to come, I actually know what I'm talking about.

I digress. You'll have to read about the wine in a future post, back to the Bottega. After tasting the barrel samples, it was time for the unveiling of the Bottega. After much fanfare and more wine, we walked into a side room of the Chateau Ste. Michelle tasting room and there it was! Enclosed in glass with a welcoming but classy design, the Col Solare logo lit on the floor, and magnums of sweet nectar on the counter was this veritable shop of awesomeness. Small and intimate but big enough to bring a group of friends, a bit of my soul went to the dusty sagebrush of Red Mountain when I stepped through the door -- and I loved every minute of it. The wine was spot on and the staff was attentive and knowledge, a formidable task given that I was there with hundreds of fellow oenophiles.

Soooooo...if the siren song screams your name and you're looking for a little bit of Red Mountain over here on the West Side, the Col Solare Bottega is the place to be. You won't be sorry. I'll probably see you there.

The Col Solare Bottega offers private tasting appointments for individuals and small groups daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Each 45-minute appointment will include an overview of the Col Solare story and tasting of three vintages of the Col Solare Bordeaux-style blend, at a cost of $20 per guest.


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