Great Wine for a $20

2017 Domaine Notre Dame de Pallières ‘L’Olivet’ Sablet

Cotes du Rhone Villages, FR

Regular price: $17.99

Back in the ‘80s, I ran a little restaurant in DC. I thought that I knew a bit about wine, (it was true, I knew a very little bit), so I set out to re-write and update the wine-list. I summoned all the various sales reps and commanded them to bring me samples of the wines that I wanted to taste. Naturally, they all thought I was a jerk. (They were right). Over the next few weeks, I tasted through dozens of wines, some good, some not-so-good. One of the good ones was a Sablet. I had never heard of such a wine! Of course, it made its way onto the new (and much improved!) wine-list! Within weeks, I had some sort of existential argument with senior management and I walked out in a huff! I’m sure my wine-list followed me out the door.

Fast forward, uhm, 45 years and…voila! I’ve found another Sablet!

(Well, truth be told, I’ve sold lots of Sablet over the past few, er, decades, but I thought you might enjoy my little story. You know, kinda humanize the wine.)


It seems that most of the wine press doesn’t know of Sablet (maybe because they are not and have never been in the wine business?). I found a much repeated (plagiarized) comment on-line  about the ‘upcoming wine region Sablet’. Uh, right. I mean, its nice that they finally noticed, but Sablet received AOC status back in ‘74 and has been growing grapes and making wines since, like, the 9th century. Yep. Up and coming. Any day now.

I love this wine because its fresh and very pretty. Made of Grenache and Syrah, it shows ripe red berry fruit flavors along side the herbal ‘garrigue’. It has very nice weight (not too big, not too small, just right) and enough tannins to work well with big (winter-ish) foods but none of those dried out wood tannins (from too much oak) that you find in wines trying to mask their sugary sweetness. The wine is silky and unassuming, but really is well made and delicious and you’ll like it enough to go back for more.