Let Rioja buy you dinner!
Value French red since 1970
Back in the 1970s, when I was a young fella who hadn't started writing about wine and really didn't even know all that much about it except that it was good, the New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne belted out a hymn of praise to a "little" French wine called La Vieille Ferme, "the Old Farm."
Pay no attention to the fact that this wine came from the Côtes-du-Rhône, Claiborne advised, even though in that day if French wine didn't come from Bordeaux or Burgundy it didn't win much respect. It must have sold for around $2.50, a pretty good price in the day when $5 bought very good wine and the $6 point was for celebrations and holidays.
Then as now, La Vieille Ferme was made from Southern Rhône grapes selected and bottled by the Perrin family, owners of noteworthy Rhône properties including the iconic Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
And over the years it hasn't changed much. When Côtes-du-Rhône finally started to earn the respect it deserved and prices went up, the Perrins moved around the corner and down the road to the Côtes du Ventoux in Provence. In recent years they've also changed the label from a drawing of, well, an old farm, to one of poultry on the hoof, so to speak, in the barnyard. Neither of these changes much altered what's in the bottle; and a recent shift from natural cork to sturdy metal screwcap is a clear positive in a wine at this price.
I liked it then. I like it now. The 2008 is drinking nicely, and the 2009 should start turning up in your local wine shop soon. My tasting resport is below.
Let Rioja buy you dinner!
Rioja wines are the best food pairing wines in the world. The home of the amazing Tempranillo grape will prove it by taking you and a friend to one of the best restaurants in your area.
All you have to do is submit a recipe you think will go well with Rioja wines. We'll pick three winners and publish the best ones in our monthly e-newsletter that goes to nearly 70,000 people.
Today's Tasting Report
La Vieille Ferme 2008 Côtes du Ventoux ($9.99)
Very dark blackish-purple, almost a patent-leather look, with a clear garnet edge. Ripe raspberry and plum aromas lead into a fresh, bright black-fruit flavor with plenty of mouth-watering acidity to make it food-friendly, and the alcohol is not too outlandish at 13.5%. A whiff of raspberry hangs on in a long finish. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault in undisclosed proportions, a typical and tasty Southern Rhône blend. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, Ala. (Sept. 4, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: Made for red meat, it was a natural match with a locavore grass-fed rib eye from a farmers' market, crusted with black pepper, pan-seared and oven-finished with garlic and fresh rosemary.
VALUE: As it was in the '70s, so it is now: La Vieille Ferme is hard to beat for value in a traditional Rhône red. U.S. prices, per Wine-Searcher.com, range from $6.50 to $9.99. It's a buy even at my high-end local price; if you can find it for $7 or less it's an insane bargain.
WEB LINKS: The importer's fact sheet on La Vieille Ferme is here; don't miss the links in the right-hand column on this page, which offer maps, photos, reviews, even a click-to-listen pronunciation. ("La V'yeh Fehrm.")
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Compare prices and find vendors for La Vieille Ferme on Wine-Searcher.com.
The importer also offers a fill-in form you can use to get information on retailers near you.
Talk About Wine Online
If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet's first and still the most civil online community. To find our forums, click:
Discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D". Anonymous, cryptic or first-name-only registrations are discarded without notice.
Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.
To contact me by E-mail, write email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
Subscriptions and Administrivia
We're sorry if you must leave us, but simply click the "unsubscribe"
link at the bottom of your Email edition to be instantly removed from the mailing list.
With our new Email system, the easiest way to change your Email address is simply to register anew, using the link below. If you are keeping your old address, you may unsubscribe; if you are closing it, you needn't take any action, as our system will delete your old address as soon as the mail starts to "bounce."
Subscribe to this Email edition (free):
WineLoversPage.com RSS Feed (free):
Wine Advisor Archives:
For information, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to unsubscribe from future mailings. We're sorry you must leave us, though. If you have a comment or suggestion, please feel free to contact Robin Garr at email@example.com.