"This is a wine I would expect to drink at Chez Panisse," was my initial impression when I tasted this 1998 Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras. It's every bit as delicious and traditional as the Provencal food from that great Berkeley restaurant, and it made me hungry for a return visit. Well, at least I can taste the wine. It's a Kermit Lynch selection, and Kermit, also from Berkeley, has ties to Alice Waters and her restaurant.
Maturing beautifully, Sang des Cailloux is very Vacqueyras in its smells and flavors: dark cherries, black licorice, earth, leather and minerals. It's now fully developed and even more typically Vacqueyras than it was when I last tasted it in 2009. Has the earthy qualities I love in Couroulou. On the palate, the wine is powerful and, again, unambiguous in its personality. Ripe cherry up front, then a bold mid-palate presence with some tannins, and finally a long, ripe finish. Is not fading one bit. And that's good because I have a few more bottles in the cellar.