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

A Rhône Red Makes a Good Introduction to a Store

Domaine Le Colombier Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes 2007

Thomas Matthews
Posted: December 15, 2009

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).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more wines from the Vacqueyras appellation , along with our quick list of Top Values among Rhône reds.

Jim Mason
St. John's —  December 17, 2009 7:53am ET
Southern Rhone wines still represent some of the best value available in retail stores, at all price points. I'm surprised more restaurants don't stock them: they are readily available in just about every state and province, hold up well even in so-so vintages, are priced very well and pair with a wide variety of foods. And they're great right off the store shelf and will hold up in the cellar for a couple of years at least. Seems like the perfect restaurant bottle IMO.

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