A tasty little Rhone blend from Trader Joe’s – they’ve had this for at least six or seven years now, and it’s usually a good deal. I tried the white over the summer, and they also make a rosé. The red contains Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault. Ventoux, if you’re not familiar with it, is one of the southernmost subzones of the Rhone – politically and culturally, it’s in the upper reaches of Provence. A lot of Peter Mayle’s books take place in the shadow of Mont Ventoux.
La Ferme Julien (2011) Ventoux, France – $7.50
Aroma: typical Rhone – fresh and cooked berry notes, plus that wild-herb aroma called garrigue.
Taste: lots more berry fruit, especially fresh red currant, cherry, and raspberry. Noticeable tannins on the mid-palate and finish, and some good heat going down. A pretty nice jolt of black pepper in the mid-palate, too.
This is classic café wine – a good, rough Rhone that works equally well with a hearty cheeseburger, a pizza, kebabs, a mixed grill, or a chunk of dark chocolate. Recommended.