This is my first try of the village-specific Rhones from Les Trois Couronnes now on the shelves at D&W Parkview in Kalamazoo. The Les Trois Couronnes Cotes du Rhone has been available for about $7 at D&W for several months; this Vacqueyras is $13.99. Also available are a Gigondas for $16 and a Chateauneuf du Pape for $26.
If you've tried the Cotes du Rhone, you'll find that Les Trois Couronnes Vacqueyras is built along the same lines, although it's a bit more backward at this stage. The color is deep and dark, and the aromas feature black tones of licorice, black fruit and Vacqueyras minerals. Right now, there is a strong floral element, sort of like lilacs, that alternates between being pretty and aggressive. This is something I've found before in young Gigondas and Vacqueyras wines. I think at this stage, the wine is crying out for air to start creating something beautiful. In the mouth, I find the same qualities; it's very concentrated and chewy. This Vacqueyras should be much better in a few years or even a few months. If you're looking for something to drink tonight, I suspect you'll be happier with the Cotes du Rhone for half the price.
As for how this wine compares to other Vacqueyras wines I know, it has similarities to what I tasted in the 1998 Couroulu at the same stage--earthy and powerful with good potential. I don't think Les Trois Courounnes is in the same ball park as Le Sang de Cailloux ($40) or Monardiere Les Calades ($20).