Sunday, September 11, 2011

Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone, 2009

If you like La Vieille Ferme Ventoux, you're going to love this wine. It's LVF plus plus. And that's no accident, of course. Both are made by the Perrin family, producers of the esteemed Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. Someone on this board asked how La Vieille Ferme--so widely available at such a low price--could rank as an artisan wine. The answer is that Pierre Perrin knows how to scout out good vineyards and good fruit that are then made according to the best traditional practices. The Perrins believe strongly in traditional, organic farming and non-manipulative winemaking.

Unlike LVF, which is sourced mainly from purchased grapes, the Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone comes mainly from vineyards owned by Perrin family: 60% Grenache from the estate's vineyards at Prebois (ranking among the best in the area), 20% Syrah from estate vineyards in Vinsobres (also very highly regarded) and 20% Mourvedre. The relatively high percentage of Mourvedre should make for a wine that ages well, but there is no question that it drinks beautifully now. No need to wait and it would be a shame to miss the youthful vibrance of a fine Cotes du Rhone.

Beautiful deep crimson, almost opaque. Classic peppery, spicy Southern Rhone with concentrated red berries. Vigorous aromas and flavors. Very finely crafted with no hard edges but also no compromises to the international style.

The price: under $10 a bottle and on sale right now for $8.99 at Cost Plus World Market. That's only a few dollars more than you'll pay for La Vieille Ferme, and it's worth the premium. But that doesn't mean you should neglect LVF; I haven't tried the 2009 but plan to very soon.

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