This wine has changed considerably since I opened my first bottle four or five years ago. The color has lightened, and some bricky tones are appearing. The lush berry smells and flavors have also faded slightly, but that's not all bad. Still some pretty berry scents with licorice and spice--very typical of Grand Prieur Cotes du Rhone but now with subtle qualities from aging. Grenache complexity keeps unfolding--berries, spice, minerals and a hint of pepper--and the fruit is still plenty strong. Very much like a Vacqueyras, and that's not surprising since the grapes come from that appellation. Bertin Gras, the owner, chose the lower appellation to take advantage of the slightly higher yields permitted, and I have never been disappointed by the results.
Grand Prieur, selling for about $8 a bottle, is a wine I have enjoyed through many vintages, and this is my 11th bottle of a very enjoyable case.