This $5.99 La Ferme Julien from Trader Joe's is simply a TJ label for the Perrin family's La Vieille Ferme, always an excellent value (at about $8 a bottle). I have been buying and enjoying La Vieille Ferme since their first vintage in 1978. Of course, the quality has gone down as the source of grapes has gone from the Cotes du Rhone to Ventoux to the Languedoc and now to even more generic, unnamed sources. But the Perrins are always reliable in choosing the best grapes they can get for the money and making a wine that measures up to traditional Southern Rhone standards.
On the first night, the wine actually was a bit backward. After being re-corked on subsequent nights, the Grenache/Syrah charms come to the fore. Red and black berries, flowers, and the peppery mouthfeel I love. Just the right amount of warmth. It's hard to imagine that a $5.99 might require a few months' aging, but I intend to buy a few more bottles and not be in any hurry to drink them.