I recently trekked to the California coast to taste Santa Cruz wines during the quarterly Passport weekend (more about this adventure in a future post). I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t go home with a couple of bottles, so I found some value wines at Trader Joe’s before tasting so I’d feel less compelled to buy the expensive wines I was about to taste. (For the record, I fully believe in supporting local vintners and I try to buy what I like and make it worth their while to pour me a taste. But I really needed to stick to my budget this weekend, so I cheated with Trader Joe’s.)
My friend pointed out one of her favorites: La Ferme Julien Rouge 2009. At $4.99, I couldn’t resist!
It’s a Rhone Valley blend of 50 percent grenache, 20 percent syrah, and equal parts carignan and cinsault. My friend who recommended it swears by blends, which I think is a kind of vague and broad statement, but this wine exemplifies why she can say that with such confidence. The grape varieties meld well into a laid-back, drinkable Tuesday night wine.
The 2009 Rouge is a crisp, plummy red with just a hint of chocolate, clove and cigar. Not heavy on the spice and smoke, two components I usually like to wallop me over the head, but this wine presents them subtley in the aftertaste so it’s very drinkable for those who like an easier, lighter red.
Again, at $4.99, this is truly a find and will become a staple in my wine rack. And as it turns out, it’s a staple in my friend’s wine rack too. So much so, that when she offered to write about a great find for this very blog, she wrote about this wine! Great minds think alike, as they say. And it says something for the versatility of this wine that two of us with very different palates enjoyed it enough to write about it.