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.