<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/vacq0804.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Vacqueyras 2001 - Grabbing the Open Mike
Walt, thanks for grabbing the Open Mike ... I think this new idea is going to be a lot of fun, if we can keep it rolling with folks posting wines-to-taste in advance with the idea of others grabbing the same or similar wine to compare.
I thought I had a Kermit Vacqueyras here, but wrong-o, so I raced out to the big-box wine shop this afternoon and found exactly one in stock - happily, a 2001. The oddity about it is that, at first glance, the label didn't seem to disclose a producer - all it shows is "<b>Vacqueyras 2001</b>." Weird. I had to squint at the fine print at the bottom of the label to spot the very cryptic "<I>C.A.V.C.D.R. a Vacqueyras (Vaucluse) France</i>." Whaaa? A cooperative producer, I'm guessing. "<i>Cooperative Associacion Vignobles des Cotes-du-Rhone</I>"? Hell, I don't speak French. Something like that, though, I guess.
Pulled the cork, and things got even more confusing: It's got a swishy logo and the wording "Vignerons de Caractere, www.vigneronsdecaractere.com
." Naturally I surfed straight to the site, a fairly slick production, entirely in French. I skimmed it very quickly with my very fractured French, and there's definitely a Vacqueyras connection - and also some references to an 11th century poet, Raimbaut, who seems to be an important figure in the village's history. Anybody who's more fluent in Franch than I am is welcome to dig into it and report.
A couple of factoids: Vacqueyras is one of the many Cotes-du-Rhone villages that lie along the foothills of Mont Ventoux, above and east of Chateauneuf-du-Pape; Vacqueyras is a pretty village just at the foot of the landmark <i>Dentelles de Montmirail</i>, a striking row of outcroppings that someone thought looked like lace (<i>dentelles</i>). Vacqueyras is one of the relatively small number (Gigondas being one of the other most familiar) that may put the village name on the label as an AOC without "Cotes-du-Rhone." It's pronounced "Vah-kay-rahss" with the final S sounded (because it comes from Provencal), and the permitted grapes are essentially the same as the 13 of Chateauneuf, although Grenache typically dominates the wines, with Syrah and Mourvedre as other frequent players.
Getting to it, finally, here's the WTN. Darn nice wine!
C.A.V.C.D.R. 2001 Vacqueyras ($17.99)
Very dark garnet, with a clear edge, showing no signs of aging. It's still fresh on the nose and palate, too: Aromas of red berries and fragrant black pepper; mouth-filling, bright red fruit and snappy acidity on the palate. Tannins aren't evident at first, but I get a little soft raspy quality after a while in the glass, very much secondary to juicy fruit and a lingering lemon-squirt of acidity. Very good wine indeed, and no complaints at this price. U.S. importer: Wine Adventures Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa. (Aug. 4, 2006)
<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> Fine with veal burgers sandwiched with fresh beefsteak tomato on <i>ciabbata</i>.