Valreas is the northernmost appellation and is often called the most Burgundian of Cotes du Rhone Villages. I found Burgundian charm from the first sniff of this Valreas, although the aroma/flavor profile was classic Southern Rhone: dark cherries, pepper, tobacco, garrigue--as deep and as compact as fruit cake. Old vine Grenache and Syrah fruit flavors are very ripe and easy on the palate but also carry a bright freshness and acidity. This wine has all the spicy fruit qualities I love in the inexpensive Trader Joe's Valreas I buy and report on regularly but with significantly more depth and complexity.
Bouchard's Val des Rois has a reputation for long aging; I bought Bouchard's 1990 Val des Rois and enjoyed it for a good part of the decade. I'm not so sure this 2004 will age as well. It has a peppery maturity that became more pronounced on the second night. But there is no need to wait; the wine is beautiful right now.