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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

An American Red for the Fourth

Col Solare Columbia Valley 2006

Thomas Matthews
Posted: July 14, 2010

I did my patriotic duty on the Fourth of July: got together with family and friends, went to the beach, grilled hamburgers in the backyard. But instead of a cold beer, I opened a gutsy American red (with a touch of the immigrant in the bottle).

Col Solare is a joint venture from Washington between Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Italy’s Piero Antinori. I bought the bottle at a charity auction earlier in the year (it retails for $75), and it seemed appropriate to open a multicultural wine on a day that celebrates a multicultural country.

The wine comes from the Red Mountain region of eastern Washington. That area is noted for producing tannic reds, but this 2006 was smooth and plush. It’s a complex blend of 72 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 19 percent Merlot, 4 percent Cabernet Franc, 3 percent Petit Verdot and 2 percent Syrah, but the rich flavors are very harmonious. I found the wine polished, sleek yet generous, with plum, black cherry, chocolate and spice flavors; I rated it 91 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Col Solare Columbia Valley 2006 (92, $75).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among Washington reds.

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