Friday, May 15, 2009

La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux, 2004

I usually think of La Vieille Ferme as a wine to drink within the year of its release, but this 2004--a left over from a string of attractive vintages--changed my thinking. It's drinking beautifully, at least as good as when it was young.

The color is a deep ruby with good brightness and clarity, and the first sniff from the glass is brimming with fresh blueberries, violets and herbs. I sense no come-down in freshness from the 2006 Font-Sane next to it; in fact, La Vieille Ferme is more open and aromatic at this stage in its development. It has everything I expect from a Ventoux with ripe fruit-forward flavors but also a firm tannic structure. On the finish, it lacks the deep red raspberry core that the Font-Sane offers, but that's no insult. The Font-Sane is special; LVF is a worthy match, and I'm looking forward to the 2007s from both estates. Actually, LVF arrived a few weeks ago and is widely available for $6 to $8--probably the best wine value in the market today.


  1. I used to enjoy LVF as well, Fred. I don't know for certain, but it seems like Beaucastel has been positioning its Perrin & Fils brand as the quality provider for this price point lately. (Under $12) I've been very impressed by the Perrin & Fils CdR Reserve and CdR Villages, especially. Neither was over $15.

    Of course, I'm building a portfolio of about six other producers that are even better!

  2. I've tried the Perrin CDR and CDR Villages a few times and enjoyed them. But my favorites in this price range are Vieux Chene, Sainte Anne, Segries, Monardiere, l'Espigouette and La Garrigue.

    La Vieille Ferme, on the other hand, is about half that price--under $7.50! It is consistently good and has classic Ventoux traits that I love--bright and lively in its fruit presentation but with substance and structure.

    I'd love to hear more about your portfolio. Are you an importer? distributor? retailer?

  3. Good Heavens, no! I misspoke, Fred. I'm merely an amateur drinker that has gradually come to enjoy nuance and polish in wines, instead of the more common bold and high alcohol flavors.

    By "portfolio", I meant "cellar", except I don't really have one. I rent some wine storage in Seattle, and am buying a few things for it.

    I think I may even have some Segries. Do they make a Lirac?

    Oh, and this is Eric!

  4. Sorry I didn't recognize your voice, Eric. I knew you weren't in the wine business, but the word "portfolio" threw me for a loop.

    Yes, Segries is located in Lirac, and that's the Segries wine I've had.

  5. Well, I'm used to being forgotten, Fred. No *major* harm done.

    I have some of the Segries Lirac on order. Have you ever tried Roc-Epine Lirac? I've heard a couple of recommendations.


  6. I like the Segries Lirac a lot, Eric, and I know other tasters who agree. The Roc Epine Lirac I haven't tried, but I did enjoy the 2007 Roc Epine Cotes du Rhone I had in a restaurant. On the basis of that wine, I would say Roc Epine has moved a bit more toward a modern style but very well done. Segries is very traditional.

  7. By Traditional, you mean lots more herby, woody, pencil lead stuff? ;>

    There's a tasting on a couple of 2006 Chats, the Charvin and Usseglio, locally, so I may save my splurge money for that. I've tried these others lately:

    2007 La Grange de Piaugier (nice acidity, great fruit), 2007 Domaine St. Pierre (eh, but not bad.) 2007 Domaine Boisson (Too much Syrah, but good with food)
    All are Cotes du Rhone.

  8. Boisson has a 2006 Cairanne that has attracted the attention of Village Corner tasters. I haven't tried it yet.

    I'll post a note very soon on the 2007 Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone. It's also high in Syrah (75 percent) but very easy drinking right now.

    I bought quite a few Usseglio Chateauneufs (both Pierre and Ramon) from 1998 to 2000 but haven't tried one recently. The Charvin always gets rave reviews from people on the Parker board. Again, I suspect that this one leans toward the modern side, with a bit more use of new oak for my taste. Don't know for sure since I haven't tasted it.

    Feel free to post notes on any of your wines, Eric. There is so much variation in wines that are available in different parts of the country.

  9. I'll try to remember, Fred. Its harder to post after I've formed an opinion. By that time, I've finished the bottle and can't type!

    Is VC interested in the Boissons Villages, or just the regular CdR? I haven't tried the Villages. I did try a couple weeks ago a rather spectacular (for the price) Villages Cairanne that I thought had great fruit and balance. L'Amelliaud, I think.

    I just took a flyer on 3 2006 Beauchene CNdP at $20 a bottle.

    I know, I know...I'm an ostentatious parvenu.

  10. Here is the Village Corner note on Domaine Boisson:

    05 CAIRANNE COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE BOISSON (get 10% off if you order by May19) $16.99
    FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN Newly Available 05/11
    Wow! Lots of vibrant peppercorns and other spices. Blueberry, cassis, violets, chamomile. And garrigue. Deep and black, genuine Cairanne style. In fact, it's textbook Cairanne./ Big, fat, powerful, heady, tannic, full bodied and full textured. Huge, really. Classic Cairanne magnified to Chateauneuf proportions. Very well liked by the group. Some thought this the best Cairanne they'd ever tasted. I think the Oratoire Saint Martins are more complex, but there's no denying the incredible intensity of Cairanne characteristics in this one. 92+/100.

    They were temporarily out of this when I was in Ann Arbor next week, but I definitely intend to give this one a try--either the 2006 or 2007 vintage.

    $20 for the Beauchene CdP? sounds like a great price to me.

    One Chateauneuf I've had my eye on is the Lucien Barrot. The 1988 or 1989 Barrot of two of the best CdPs I've ever had and in a style I prefer. I'm a traditionalist, but I don't want to come across as putting down the domaines that follow a more modern style. What's important to me is the quality of the fruit, and all of the Chateauneuf vineyards are top class and capable of producing great wine.

  11. I will look for Barrot, Fred. I think our tastes are similiar.

    I'm not sure if you intend to buy much, but Circle Livingston Liquors ( has a very good price on the Boissons, as well as a huge sale this weekend. The owner, Carl, seems like a pretty good guy to deal with.

    There would be shipping of course, but its a good deal in quantity.


  12. Thanks for the tip about Central Liquors, Eric. They have a great selection and some very good prices. The Boisson is basically the same price as at Village Corner so it doesn't make sense for me to have it shipped when I can pick it up at the store. For you, it's a different matter.

    Incidentally, every wine at VC is now 10% off the price listed--permanently. I don't know why they don't just list the lower price. The discount goes to 12% if you buy 12 bottles, mix or match.

    Clos Mont Olivet is another Chateauneuf I would probably be buying. Again, my good experiences go back to the 1988 vintage before they started siphoning off some of the best juice for the prestige Cuvee de Papet. Bois du Boursan is another favorite. I love Pegau...but not enough to shell out $60 to $100 a bottle.

    When I see a Chateauneuf I haven't tried before (like Beauchene) and the price is right, I give it a try, and it's nearly always good. There are few real losers from this appellation.