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Senior editor Alison Napjus joined Wine Spectator in 2000. She is the lead taster for Alsace, Beaujolais and Champagne and also tastes wines from regions throughout Italy.
Alison Napjus

Go-To Grenache at a Going-Going-Gone Price

Domaine Le Colombier Vacqueyras Cuvée G. 2007

Alison Napjus
Posted: September 13, 2010

Although I spend a lot of time drinking Italian wine when not in the office, my love is not limited to wines of the boot. One of the many other areas I enjoy is France's Rhône Valley, and in particular I've been trying wines from the exceptional 2007 vintage. One drawback is that the region overall, and especially the 2007 vintage, has received a great deal of press in the past decade, with my colleague James Molesworth notably leading the vanguard, and prices have risen rapidly for many wines.

To counteract the surge in prices I've taken to exploring some of the Rhône's lesser-known regions in search of good values, an excellent example of which is the Vacqueyras appellation. This area is located just northeast of the better-known Châteauneuf-du-Pape area, but Vacqueyras typically sells for a fraction of the price of CdP.

One of the area's top producers is Domaine Le Colombier, which makes several reds and whites from the Vacqueyras appellation. When we tasted the Cuvée G. early this spring, I liked it so much that I purchased a few bottles, at a very attractive $22 per bottle. I recently opened one of the bottles and wasn't disappointed; the wine displayed lush tannins and very pure flavors of blackberry, ripe plum, chocolate and coffee grounds. It had good muscle to it, but was well-integrated. I rated it 92 points, non-blind, and although it might be wrong to let price factor in so heavily, I almost got more enjoyment out of it knowing that my 92-point wine was only $22.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine Le Colombier Vacqueyras Cuvée G. 2007 (92, $24).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among Rhône reds.

Terrisson Laurent
france —  September 13, 2010 2:35pm ET

Very good pick!

Laurent Terrisson
Todd Bishop
San Francisco, CA —  September 13, 2010 5:55pm ET
Coincidentally, we just followed the exact same strategy when dining out last week: we went with the Montirius "Garrigues" from Vacqueyras. Of course we faced a restaurant mark-up of 2x, but it was a relative value compared to the other Rhones on the list, and everyone enjoyed it immensely.
David Cable
Santa Barbara —  September 14, 2010 9:59pm ET
I prefer the 2006 Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras (WS91) or the 2007 Perrin & Fils Vinsobres (WS91). Made by the renowned Perrin Family of Beaucastel fame. Family owned and operated, hand picked, and organic since 1962.
David Bricker
switzerland —  March 15, 2011 2:06pm ET
Alison perhaps you could locate the recent wines of Li Veli (Salento). The classy entry-priced Primitivo & Negroamaro are terrific value. I haven't tried the other blends, but they promise to be good.

Good to see more positive news about le Colombier. Very friendly and approachable Producer, humble. I met him at the last year at Vinisud in France. We will be selling his wine this year. Such great value.

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