Couroulu may have been my introduction to the wines of this appellation, and it's still my style of Vacqueyras. I went through about a case each of the 1984, 1985 and 1986 Couroulu, discovering that they aged pretty nicely over 10 to 12 years.
Considering the quality of the 1998 vintage, previous bottles of this wine have been slightly disappointing, but this one was a charmer from the time the cork was popped. It's a medium deep crimson with a little brickiness developing around the edges. At 11 years of age, the bouquet is coming together nicely with black fruits, licorice, Vacqueyras earth and minerals and probably some brett. Pepper and spice emerge; there's surely some Mourvedre in the blend, and it should become even spicier in a year or so. Flavors are very savory, almost salty but with a ripe finish. This wine is not for everyone, but it's classic old-time Vacqueyras at its best. And I love it.