Friday, May 6, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: ***+ $ Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone, 2007, Cornas, Rhone, France

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 By way of background, original review, November, 2009: Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone, 2007, is from the increasingly-well-known Cornas-based winemaker and negociant, Jean-Luc Colombo. He is known for producing traditional French grapes with a bit more "new world" flair. "Les Abeilles" - meaning "bees" in French - is a blend of southern Rhone red grapes from quarter-century old vines. This year's blend is 50% grenache, 30% syrah and 20% mourvedre - what is often called a "CdR", a "Rhone blend" or sometimes "GSM".

In the glass: Les Abeilles is deep magenta red in the glass. It moves to opaque only about a half-inch in from the edge.

On the nose: The aromas of Les Abeilles are subtle and restrained, yet quite enticing. They are deep, slightly forest-y, with overtones of fresh plums.

On the palate: On the sip, full-front rich plum flavors touch the tip of your tongue and the front of your mouth - almost your teeth. The robe of deep red fruit flavor moves backwards then, along the sides of your mouth. It carries an element of acidity and spiciness, but that is just one component of an overall bolder blend. A bit of older world earthiness also settles in as the tannins cloak things.

And the finish: Solid, clean and medium in length, it does twist your upper cheeks up just at the finish, with one last acid zinger.

In summary: Excellent overall experience, one to be repeated. That's three stars on the Spirit of Wine scale, and makes this an outstanding value wine at its price point.

Updated review, about a year and a half later, May, 2011:  Still deep magenta red in the glass, but not moving to opaque, even in the center.  Sandy sweet deep red nose with hint of plums.  Sweet, full red berries flood your mouth, bringing insanely succulent yet still bright red fruit everywhere.  Still some acids and tannins to shuttle the fruit around.  The finish builds with brightness, and lingers with little traces of fruit in your cheeks.  This is a pleasant lighter-bodied red wine experience.   Gets a plus for the pleasantness, and becomes an awesome best value at its crazy low price.  Seems to be a testament of the quality of the 2007 vintage in the Cote de Rhone region of France.  Following long decant, three hours in flat-bottomed decanter:  Nose has gone shy.  Palate has gone softer, still pleasant and retaining its brightness.  Not harmed by the air time, but not particularly advantaged either.

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