Does the perfect wine make the perfect night, or vice versa?

It's kind of like debating about whether the chicken or the egg came first -- there is no clear answer and really, does it matter? I'd argue that an amazing wine can create an experience, and an excellent experience can enhance a wine.

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to have one of those pretty much perfect evenings and it involved the 2005 Col Solare Red Wine. The nexus of great company, delicious food, celebrative circumstances, and mind-blowing vino left me in a near transcendental state and definitely begging for more of the Col Solare.

May had been a very long month with a lot going on for both Rick and I, and I was on the eve of embarking on a business trip to England while in the midst of a battle with the cable company. Talk about frustration... Knowing that I was going to be engaging in my last minute packing routine, Rick offered to make dinner as somewhat of a celebration of a number of factors. I quickly took him up on the offer. He walked through the door after a longer than usual trip to the store mumbling something about a special ingredient that was harder to find, and next thing I knew I was staring straight into the eyes of one of the most delicious bottles of wine I have experienced -- the Col Solare.

We had been talking about the Col Solare for quite a while having read reviews, but here at The Oregon Wine Blog we are of modest means making a $75.00 bottle of wine is a very rare treat. With a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc, this vintage hit both of our wine sweet spots bulls eye. A unique venture from all accounts, Col Solare is a collaboration between Washington's Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italy's famed winemaker, Marchese Piero Antinori. With a winery on Red Mountain that only puts out one wine per year, they achieve their mission of joining the Washington new world with the Tuscan old world style. Constantly rated above 90 in both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate, the 05 scored 93 and 94 respectively.

Immediately we noticed a deep, dark, gorgeous red coating the glass. Upon sniffing, we found the nose on this wine to be rather mellow and subtle. Winery notes list aromas of black cherry, berry, and dark chocolate fused with smooth notes of vanilla and spices. Despite decanting, we really didn't pick up much and had we just smelled the wine and not tasted it, I would have walked away feeling like I got socks for Christmas. Luckily, the delicious nectar quickly made it's way to my mouth where I can only describe the taste as amazing. There was a lingering taste, with a very balanced feel on the palate. The blend was so smooth it felt like silk. Tasting notes indicate long, lingering flavors of cocoa, black fruit, and vanilla.

Bottom line, if you get a chance to experience Col Solare - do it. They are on my list to visit next time I am in the Red Mountain area, and when I have some extra cash laying around another bottle will probably end up on my rack.

Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite northwest wine is and the experience that made it great for you!