On a trip to France a couple of years ago, I tasted many fine wines but one of my most memorable was a carafe of generic Vinsobres at a sidewalk cafe in Vaison la Romaine. Full of peppery, spicy fruit, it brought back memories of another Vinsobres, the 1999 Chaume-Arnaud Vinsobres, I had on the banks of the St. Joseph River at Bistro Rio in Mendon, Michigan.
I've had my eye out for Vinsobres ever since, and this 2004 Chaume-Arnaud met my expectations and then some. It's a deep ruby/crimson with bluish tints from the Mourvedre in the blend. Aromas of herbs, cherries, purple flowers and tree bark. Again, the Mourvedre and the Syrah are dominant at this stage. On the palate, it's still a bit tight, but the Grenache (60%) is lurking, poised to gush out with red berries, pepper and spice. With some aeration, you can smell and taste it all--a beautiful wine to drink now and a real charmer in a couple of years.