Beaucastel, of course, was initiated by the Perrin Brothers who branched out into Famille Perrin, makers of many excellent Southern Rhone wines. La Ferme Julien, a label made for Trader Joe's, is bascally the same wine as La Vieille Ferme. At $5.99, it is, in my opinion, the number one wine value to be found anywhere. After a sip of the 1986 Beaucastel (market value: $100), I decided that the wine with a donkey on the label falls directly in line with Perrin standards.
Dark red. Red and black berries with spice and black pepper. Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Cinsault from well chosen vineyards. Smooth, clean, well balanced. Good acid. No oak or cosmetic additions. Made according to the finest Southern Rhone traditions. The quote from DaVinci is appropriate. "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."