I have written some negative things about the highly touted 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone. Tasting this wine, I'm ready to take them all back. The Grenache (75%) and Syrah (25%) grapes for this wine clearly reached a complete stage of ripeness, but I find none of the over-ripeness or flabbiness that characterizes many higher priced wines from 2007.
The color is deep and dark and so are the smells--blue plums, black pepper, black and blue berries and Provencal spices. A big fruit-oriented wine that fills the mouth with flavors. Good depth. This modest Valreas is produced by a cooperative, and I bought it for $5.99 at Trader Joe's. Nothing fancy here--no barriques, no hype, just good old-fashioned Valreas wine. It's filled out a lot since I bought it a couple of years ago. I don't know what vintage is now on the shelves at Trader Joe's, probably the 2009. I greatly enjoyed the 2001 and 2004 vintages, was somewhat disappointed by the 2005. Judging from this wine, I will gladly take a shot at the 2009.