2004 Perrin & Fils Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien, AC Côtes du Rhône Villages
I bought this wine in December 2006, without really thinking. At $45, I grossly overpaid for it. And I bought 2! Not my brightest moment.
Perrin & Fils is a major producer in the Rhône, but this cuvée, Les Hauts de Julien, has the highest reputation among its Vinsobres wines. Well, at least Parker seems to like it. Vinsobres is a village in the Côtes du Rhône, and has been awarded its own AOC status.
Deep purple colour, excellent saturation. Looks very, very young. Intense nose of jammy red fruits. Lots of deep, rich cherry and raspberries. Very rich. Develops an almost savoury meat character. On the palate, a thick, silky texture, initial sweetness, and great fruit. Spicy on the finish, and a reemergence of fresh red berries. Finish lingers, but drops off. Firm structure, but very ripe, sweet tannins that are well-integrated in the wine.
This is a simple wine, and needs more age. Far from ready to drink. But, it's absolutely delicious in its simplicity, its texture, and its ripeness. Very balanced as well - a listed 14% alcohol, but none of it is discernible. That is the pedigree of French wines - the French understand how to handle the alcohol. The quality of the fruit is so high that it integrates the oak and alcohol perfectly. Very excited to see how this will age.
I drank this with pan-seared lamb loin. Salt/pepper to season. Hot pan, olive oil, crushed whole garlic cloves and rosemary. Sear the lamb on both sides, basting with butter. Oven for 3 minutes, to get a perfect medium rare. The fruit of the wine married so beautifully with the lamb. Just a profound food/wine pairing.
I still think I overpaid for the wine. However, it is extremely well-made, and I'm looking forward to drinking my last bottle in 5-7.