I've always liked the wines of Vieux Chene and have found them particularly appealing since the 2004 vintage. The estate is well situated on the Plan de Dieu with old vines that produce Cotes du Rhones with a Villages level of quality. With a relatively high percentage of Syrah, Haie aux Grives is the cuvee that Beatrice and Jean-Claude Bouche consider most ageworthy.
The color is dark, and the developing bouquet is very deep although not as showy or ripe as it was two or three years ago. I smell dark cherries, flowers, garrigue and subtle notes of black pepper. The latter is what I like most about this wine; the pepperiness is not at all aggressive but offers subtle complexity. In the mouth the wine has good body and flavors that unfold nicely leading to a peppery, dark cherry finish. With 13.5% alcohol, there is just the right amount of warmth, leaving a beautifully smooth mouth feel. This is a traditionally made wine but not as old fashioned as the Couroulu, and I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.