Part 13, Washington State: visiting one of North America's leading wine
is a grand project owned by Ch‚teau Ste Michelle in partnership with
Piero Antinori of Italy. We visited with winemaker Darel
Allwine (pictured above).
Tschelistcheff was a consultant with Ste Michelle and in 1992
convinced Piero Antinori to travel to Washington State to have a
look around. Antinori liked what he saw, and a collaboration was
born in 1995.
idea was to produce a blend based on Bordeaux varieties, with a bit
of Syrah in the mix. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant theme, with
60-80%, but the proportion varies each vintage.
2000 they looked at Red Mountain, and began sourcing fruit here in
2002 from the Klipson Vineyard. John Williams, one of the pioneers
of Red Mountain, owned 300 hectares here without water rights. Ste
Michelle looked at his parcels and chose a 40 acre block, south
facing. They brought down some water rights from another property,
and shared these with the Williams family, who were then able to
plant more of their property.
is key here: with water rights, land is worth $50 000 per acre. They
built the estate winery in 2006, and planted the vineyard in 2007.
Itís a high density planting with 7 ft x 3 ft, and the unilateral
trellis yields 3-3.5 tons/acre. This high density planting protects
the fruit zone on the west side, allowing them to open up the
canopies on both sides.
Harvest is typically at 26/27 Brix with pH of 3.7-3.8 and acid of
5-5.8 g/l. One wine is made each year, and thereís a second label
called Shining Hill. Production in 2010 was 1000 cases, then 2500 in
2011, 5000 in 2012 and 7100 in 2013. The proportion of estate fruit
has grown from 13% in 2009 (first pick) to 87% in 2011, then back
down to 48% in 2013.
says that the Syrah and Malbec are both phenomenal here, as well as
the Cabernet Sauvignon that forms the backbone of the blend. In 2011
they started making a component collection series of wines with
individual wines, which they sold to their cellar door club.
story is an interesting one. He spent 20 years in the airforce and
then retired in 1995. In 1996 he started working as a cellar rat at
Columbia Crest. ĎI was so enamoured by all the variables that go
into a bottle of wine.í Now heís winemaker at Col Solare.
Solare 2011 Washington State
14.5% alcohol. Fresh, vivid, sweet black fruits nose with spicy
framing. Rich and quite tannic on the palate with sweet black
fruits. Quite lush and yet structured with a grippy finish. Stylish
and polished but with edges. 93/100 (06/15)
Solare 2012 Washington State
Sweet, slightly chocolatey nose. Rich and dense with bold sweet
black fruits on the palate. Nice plushness and structure. Ripe and
modern, and the oak hasnít integrated properly yet. 91/100
Col Solare 2012 Red Mountain, Washington State
Coffee and chocolate on the nose with bright black fruits. Has some
freshness and a bit of spicy detail, alongside the sweet, pure
fruit. Lush and modern but not too ripe. 91/100
Solare 2013 Washington State
(Cask sample.) Chocolatey, spicy edge to the focused black
cherry and blackberry fruit. Nice lushness with good definition.
Very stylish and has good focus to the black fruits. 91-93/100
WASHINGTON STATE WINES
du Cheval Vineyard
with Kevin Pogue
tasted as indicated
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