Guy Richard of Domaine le Couroulu ages his Vacqueyras for 24 months in large old foudres. That's a relatively long time even for traditional Southern Rhones, and the result is not for those who like sleek New World wines crafted in new oak. But it's always a very good, authentic Vacqueyras with plenty of personality.
The color of this 1998 is very dark, almost impenetrable...but in an old fashioned way with no purple or blue tones. Smells are of licorice, black fruits and Vacqueyras minerals. There is also a bit of tanky volatility that I have not noted in previous vintages, but it doesn't really detract from my overall enjoyment of the wine. The palate offers the same black fruit, black licorice notes with full body and the essential ripeness of the vintage. It's almost candied in its sweetness but with a warm kick on the finish. It's not for everybody, but I love the funkiness. It's true to the personality I have found in Couroulu since the early 1980s.