Year after year, two of the best budget wines on the market are from the Perrin brothers--this Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone (about $9 to $11) and La Vieille Ferme Ventoux (about $6 to $8). They are perfect expressions of traditional Southern Rhone vitality at traditional Southern Rhone prices.
At five years of age, the 2009 Perrin Reserve is a good medium ruby color. Smells of dark cherry, earth and black pepper. On the first night, I thought the earthy smells might indicate a touch of brett, but, on the second night, it was more clearly a dark licorice/cassis/mineral scent that is often found in Syrah wines from the vicinity of Vinsobres. (And the Syrah grapes for this wine are indeed sourced from Vinsobres vineyards). Full; rich fruit flavors on the palate. Delightfully accessible but by no means simple. Every bottle of this I open always prompts the question: why don't I buy and drink more of this wine?