I nearly always buy a case of Grand Prieur on release and finish the last bottle about the time the new vintage comes on the market. It is a delightful Cotes du Rhone for drinking young, and there is always a noticeable evolution, even over that time span. Recently, my Grand Prieurs have been piling up a bit on me, and I still have several bottles of 2005 and 2006 as well as the current vintage, 2007. This 2005 has undergone even more development than I've noticed in past years--all positive.
It's still deep and dark, but the bluish tints are fading into a burnished crimson color. I think I could pick this wine out of a blind tasting with only a few sniffs. It's very distinctive--sweet, spicy berries with emerging peppercorns. The nose gets deeper and more complex as it sits in the glass and even on the second night. This wine is definitely CDR Villages quality, although now it's reminding me more of Cairanne than Vacqueyras. I get more sweet spices and less black licorice than I got a year ago. On the palate, it has the peppery warmth of maturing Grenache with a strong mid-palate presence and dancing fruit on the finish. It's probably at its prime right now, but I suspect this inexpensive Cotes du Rhone ($8/bottle) will still be singing this time next year.