Friday, May 2, 2008

Domaine le Couroulu Vacqueyras, 1998

This is definitely an old-fashioned Vacqueyras. I bought a lot of Couroulu in the mid-1980s and I still come back to it when it's available in good vintages. The style and approach have not changed over this 20-year period.

When I first tasted this 1998 eight years ago, I thought it was a bit harder than usual, but I liked the potential. At 10 years of age, my patience has paid off. It's still a very deep plummy red. Very aromatic with powerful scents of anise, sea salt, flowers, Provencal herbs and black cherries. Many Vaucluse wines have a black licorice/mineral component; with a traditional Vacqueyras like Couroulu, I'd describe it as anise rather than licorice because it's more high-pitched and more aromatic. Full range of flavors as well with a pleasant, peppery warmth that dances on the tongue. Very deep and somewhat funky; it's definitely not for those who lean toward New World wines. (My wife, in fact, would prefer an Aussie Shiraz.) But it's real Vacqueyras, and I love it.

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