You can find La Vieille Ferme, with the rooster on the label, almost anywhere for $7 or less. How can a wine so inexpensive and so readily available be taken seriously? How can it be called "an artisan wine"? Actually, by my definition, La Vieille Ferme is probably the ultimate artisan wine; as one writer put it, "it's comfortable in crystal or a jelly glass." The Perrin brothers, owners of the prestigious Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape, distribute larger quantities of this wine than they did when they introduced the label 20-some years ago, but they still take care in purchasing the grapes and overseeing the production. They want the wine to be made in a traditional Southern Rhone style; or as the writer quoted above (Andrea Middleton, wine-scamp.com) put it: "a wine (that) does not peer at your dinner disapprovingly." No snob appeal wanted or needed.
The 2007 is right in line with previous vintages (I buy at least six bottles nearly every year and would buy more if I had more room in the cellar and more years left in my life). Deep, dark ruby, bright and clear. Black raspberries with Southern Rhone spice and pepper. I find a little less pepper than in most vintages and a few more berries. That's the nature of the vintage. And, in my view, the extra ripeness in 2007 also made the wine a bit less multi-dimensional. But no less enjoyable. I'm not ashamed to open a bottle for a picnic or a fancy dinner, for carry-out pizza or beef Wellington. But I'd never show one to a wine snob.