I have come to really appreciate off vintages. 1) My favorite wines from these vintages are nearly always available, usually at a lower price than usual. 2) They are more likely to be closed out early by merchants at even deeper discounts. And 3) the cooler weather in these vintages can sometimes result in wines with greater fruit definition, particularly if you open a bottle on the early rather than the late side. All of these advantages hold true for this Domaine de la Tourade Vacqueyras, an excellent wine that usually sells for about $20 that I picked up for $8.10 on closeout.
The color is a bit lighter than usual for Vacqueyras, and the wine is a bit smaller framed. The relatively cool 2008 vintage, though, has given it great fruit definition with none of the flabbiness that I found in a few wines from riper years such as 2007 and 2003. Initial aromas and flavors are of black pepper, then Vacqueyras dark minerals and licorice. Has everything I expect from Vacqueyras and Tourade but very finely tuned as well. Now I get lively bursts of dark cherries, red plums and spice. All nicely framed with a long after taste. I'm going to enjoy this wine frequently over the next six months or so.