After a few evenings spent drinking Australian Shiraz and California Cabernet, it was an unbelievable delight to come back home to one of my favorite Southern Rhones. While the Joel Gott and Nine Stones wines (see below) are very well-made, fruit-oriented wines, they lack both the complexity and come-hither qualities of this 2006 Cotes du Rhone.
As in the past several vintages, the color of Grand Prieur is more purplish and less crimson than you'd expect from a traditional Cotes du Rhone. But there is nothing else that might indicate new oak treatment. I smell ripe blueberries, licorice, cherries and Vacqueyras minerals. (The vineyards are in Vacqueyras but the yields are too high to meet appellation standards.) Compared to both the Nine Stones Shiraz and Joel Gott Cabernet tasted alongside it, this wine is very ripe, silky smooth with rounded fruit flavors and a hint of pepper on the finish. Goes well with just about anything you put on the table.