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Among this week's red wines, the 2005 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone is a star: a great example of what former pharmacist and current consultant Jean-Luc Colombo can accomplish by applying modern winemaking techniques - including destemming and fermentation in stainless steel tanks before aging some of the wine used in oak barrels - in one of the world's most traditional regions. Its aroma is potent, with lots of black fruit along with earth, spice and a meaty note. It's just delicious to drink, with a flood of blackberry and black currant, some earthy notes, spice that intensifies on the midpalate, a medium body and tannins that announce their presence but are not overwhelming.

Bargain Wines
August 2007

Berry and cherry notes... Listed among wines that go best with spicy foods.

Cooking Light
September 2010

Bright purple. Fresh cherry and dark berry aromas are lifted by a peppery quality. In a bright, easygoing style, with modest depth to the brisk black raspberry and candied violet flavors. Finishes on a vaguely jammy note, with good cut and lingering bitterness.

International Wine Cellar
May 2012

Brilliant ruby. Spicy cherry and dark berries on the perfumed nose. Supple and broad but lively as well, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors that pick up a peppery nuance with air. Closes spicy and taut, with lingering blackberry and bitter cherry qualities and gentle tannins.

February 2015

This fulfills the most important requirement of a $13 red: to inspire appetite. It tastes like a food, as if the fruit were seasoned liberally with thyme and tarragon, shot through with a bright acidity. There's nothing showy or particularly complex about it, its just tasty, ready for leg of lamb and tapenade.

Wine & Spirits
February 2014

Clove, bay leaf and black cherry aromas burst from the glass, followed by flavors of dark cherry and cocoa. The tannins are supple, the mouthfeel ample, and the finish ends with a refreshing lift of acidity.

Wine Enthusiast
August 2015

"This is a pretty, nicely balanced Rhone for immediate consumption. Attractive aromas of cherries, with hints of cocoa and cinnamon, give way to similar flavors couched in supple tannins. It's not a rustic powerhouse, but a surprisingly silky blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre."

Wine Enthusiast
November 15, 2008

This southern Rhone blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre is a bit of a masterpiece considering the price. It exhibits the firm structure and minerality of all Jean-Luc Colombo reds, with the depth and complexity of a more important wine, say a Cotes-du-Rhone Villages or perhaps one of the regions top crus. There is a note of blueberry and white pepper, with a hint of anise; and like most very good, serious reds it was better the next day, having been open and exposed to air for 24 hours.

Wine Review Online
September 2013

A bit of a masterpiece considering the price. It exhibits the firm structure and minerality? with the depth and complexity of a more important wine, say a Cotes-du-Rhone Villages or perhaps one of the regions top crus.

Wine Review Online
September 2013

Round pure and easy going,with a polished beam of cherry and red currant fruit laced with a lavender hint.

Wine Spectator
July 7, 2011

Rounded and forward, with friendly cherry, toasty vanilla bean and candied plum notes. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre.

Wine Spectator
July 27, 2012

Being based in the Northern Rhône, Colombo's Côtes-du-Rhône always incorporates a decent proportion of Syrah, 30% in this vintage. There's 10% Mourvèdre, with the other 60% being Grenache. It's medium to full in body, with supple tannins and superripe plum and chocolate flavors that pick up hints of raisin. Drink now.

Wine Enthusiast
September 2017

Juicy and solid, with a ball of red licorice and plum paste flavors backed by a light graphite spine. Perfect for the back-deck grill. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now. 

Wine Spectator
September 2017
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