Affordable Rhones

November 8, 2007

I have a love-hate relationship with Rhone wines. Some of my favorite reds, and actually even whites, are from Rhone appellations, such as the Châteauneuf du Pape or nearby Gigondas. I do not generally like other southern Rhone appellations, such as the Côtes du Ventoux. Unfortunately the rule of get what you pay for really applies here it seems. Côtes du Ventoux is generally cheap and not so good and Châteauneuf du Pape is expensive and good. Too expensive at that, at least too expensive for daily consumption.

Recently we were at our favorite local wine shop and picked up a bottle of Côtes du Ventoux to cook with. Our expectation was fairly low, but definitely had to taste it. As they say, you should never cook with a wine that you would not drink. It actually was not bad.

The wine in question is the La Vieille Ferme Rouge, 2005 produced by the Perrin Family, who incidentally blog about winemaking in the Rhone in English (!). The wine is pretty mass produced, very low priced, yet is totally acceptable quality. It is rich and fruity, as most Rhones are, high in acidity, tarty and rather spicy. The blend is 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan and 15% Cinsault matured in oak barrels (though not barriques) for 10 months. In my humble opinion, or as we geeks say IMHO, it is one of the better Ventouxs out there. At about 7 euros in Europe or $8 in the US, you have to try this wine.

Name: La Vieille Ferme Rouge, 2005

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Body: Medium to Full

Cost: 7 euros

Got it at: Bortarsasag, Budapest, Hungary

La Vieille Ferme Rouge, 2005