I made my first visit to an old Brooklyn wine store called Scotto’s Wine Cellar recently, after meeting owner James Benedetto at a party. My strategy for a first visit is to talk with the salespeople and try a selection of their recommendations, aiming in the $10 to $25 range. Scotto’s had good breadth in France, especially Bordeaux and the Rhône, so I tried a red from the Southern Rhône’s Vacqueyras appellation that they particularly liked. It was delicious with grilled lamb chops I served with sautéed wild mushrooms and herbs.
Domaine Le Colombier is owned by Jean-Louis Mourre, the third generation at the property. This wine is made from old-vine Grenache (80 percent) and Mourvèdre (20 percent), with no wood to get in the way of the fruit. From the ripe 2007 vintage, the wine showed rich notes of plum, fig and dates; it was full and sweet yet still bright and focused. It had plenty of structure to stand up to the lamb, and accents of smoke, mushroom and garrigue nestled in nicely with the mushrooms. I rated it 89 points, non-blind, and felt $20 was fair. I’ll try Scotto’s again.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine Le Colombier Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes 2007 (89, $20).