Monday, January 26, 2009

Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Cuvee Prestige Les Vignerons de l'Enclave des Papes, 2007

This wine is one of my long-time $5.99 favorites from Trader Joe's. I loved the 2001 and the 2004. I've had my ups and downs with the 2005 but finally decided that it had gone into a shell for awhile. If you have any of the 2005 in your cellar, give it a few months or open it a few hours ahead of time.

As for the 2007, I have not a shred of ambivalence. This is the best I've tasted from this Valreas cooperative. It's a very deep crimson; looks young and promising. The nose is bursting with ripe berries at the moment but there is still a depth and seriousness with spices, garrigue and a slight hint of pepper that will undoubtedly come out stronger as the wine ages. The wine has substance and depth plus significant tannins that get buried under the youthful fruit scents on the first night. The finish offers a touch of spice and a ton of promise. This 2007 is a beauty for drinking now and has plenty of room to grow. I'm heading back to Trader Joe's tomorrow and plan to pick up some more, assuming it's still around.


  1. I enjoyed this wine too...we must have fairly similar tastes. I was surpised at the low price for a village wine, but have come to depend on TJ's for cheap Cotes du Rhone that won't break the bank. You ought to try the 07 Perrin Reserve if you get the chance.

  2. this is a great wine, thanks for the post!

  3. The wine has surely changed since I posted my note, but I have no doubt that changes are all for the better. The other Valreas is like Romain Bouchard's Val des Rois Signature, 2004. It's probably better than the l'Enclave des Papes, but it's also about $12 to $14. A CDR Villages for $5.99 is truly a steal.

  4. My fiance and I have tried this wine several times,and we thought that it was astringent.We were thinking about using it for our wedding, but it is too astringent.

  5. Richard, I used La Vieille Ferme as one of the red wines for my daughter's wedding. It went over very well. The wine is widely available, and I've seen it on sale for $6.99. With a 10% to 15% discount for multi-case purchases, that could be a good deal.

    But if you think the Valreas is too astringent, you may prefer a New World wine like one of the Salmon Creek or Douglas Hill wines. These sell for about $5 a bottle. The Oak Grove wines, particularly the Petite Sirah, are also very good values at about $6.

    For New World choices, I went with a Xanadu and a Reynolds Cabernet from Australia. Both were on sale at the time (2005) for about $8.99but are more expensive today. McWilliams Hanwood Estates Shiraz and Cab are available now for about that price. Not as good but decent choices. Look for specials that you like and then buy in quantity. If you want to run some other ideas past me, I'd be happy to give you my opinion.

  6. Richard, I forgot to mention all the inexpensive Spanish wines such as Castano, Vina Borgia, Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache, Carro, Burro, Borsao. They are all under 510 and World Market usually carries several of them. I would go for a Grenache- or Mourvedre-based wine, but you may prefer a Tempranillo, which is closer to Cabernet in its aroma/flavor profile.

    And at Trader Joes, there is the Epicuro line of Italian wines (plus the Nerello del Bastardo if it's available) to try.