In France, top wineries will “declassify” some of the barrels in their cellars. This allows them to put their best barrels into the top wines, then offer the barrels that didn’t quite make the cut into a lower-priced wine. We see this in Washington with Woodward Canyon, which created Nelms Road for this purpose. Shining Hill is the second label for Col Solare, allowing winemaker Marcus Notaro to declassify some of the barrels that don’t make the cut for the final blend of the flagship wine. What we end up is a beautiful red blend that is heavy on Cabernet Sauvignon (69%) and also includes Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. It’s big, plump wine with ample aromas of cherry, blueberry, chocolate and vanilla, followed by smooth, approachable flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, cherry tobacco and dark chocolate. It’s nicely balanced with solid acidity and ample tannins. We like this wine with flank steak.
Production: 1,000 cases