In comments on the Les Trois Couronnes Cotes du Rhone below [March 8], Jim Z inquired about the new village specific wines under this label now being offered at D&W Parkview in Kalamazoo. I'll answer in a separate post so that the information does not get buried in the comments section.
The wines referred to are Les Trois Couronnes Chateauneuf du Pape for about $26, LTC Gigondas for $17 and LTC Vacqueyras for $13--all from the excellent 2007 vintage and all marked down several dollars from their regular retail price. Needless to say, a $26 Chateauneuf du Pape from 2007 is a rarity. In fact, the LTC Cotes du Rhone at $7 is a bargain compared to the $13 to $15 price I find for this wine in other areas of the country.
I haven't tried any of these new selections, although I bought a couple of bottles of the Vacqueyras the other day and plan to open one soon. I talked to Penny (the wine specialist) at D&W who hasn't tried them either, although she loves the Cotes du Rhone and drinks it frequently. According to Penny, all of these wines were very well liked by Roz Mayberry, head of the wine department at D&W, and her husband, Robert, one of the most respected voices on Rhone wines in the country. I will eventually try all three and will report on them here. As always, I'd welcome tasting reports from readers.
Information about Les Trois Couronnes has been difficult to find. I believe they are products of Louis Musset, former owner of Chateau des Fines Roches in Chateauneuf du Pape who now runs a large negotiant business, selling mainly to supermarkets. The wines may have been made in a cooperative, but in the Southern Rhone there are many fine co-ops. I'm looking forward to trying all of them and am grateful to D&W for making them available at these prices.