Friday, February 3, 2012

Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Cuvee Prestige (Vignerons de l'Enclave des Papes), 2007

The Valreas Cuvee Prestige on the shelves at Trader Joe's right now is probably the 2009 or 2010 vintage. Whatever it is, I would be a buyer based on my past experiences with this cooperative wine. The 2001 and 2004 were excellent, and this 2007 continues to impress me. (The 2005 was a bit of a disappointment, but I have may have consumed my bottles a bit too early).

The color is a deep crimson, now beginning to turn a bit. The wine has matured nicely. It has lost some of its ripe plum fruit but has added secondary characteristics that I like. Blueberries, spice and black pepper. Has taken on some extra dimension. Not at all aggressive on the palate but not simple or washed out either.

Like many of my favorite Southern Rhone wines today, this is produced by a cooperative. Most of these coops have significantly upgraded their ability to control temperature during fermentation while sticking to traditional principles that some estates have lost sight of. And, of course, the quality/price ratio is very good. I paid $5.99 for this 2007 Valreas; even if the price has gone up a dollar or two, it is an outstanding value.

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