This is the time of year when thousands of fine wine lovers usually place their orders for the latest vintage of red bordeaux offered en primeur, writing out large cheques to merchants in anticipation of wine that is still in cask and will be delivered from the cellars of Bordeaux two years hence. This year's offering however is of 2007 bordeaux. Our tasting notes on more than 500 reds and, much more exciting, whites can be found here. But 2007 is a curious vintage for red bordeaux, producing wines that look as though they will mature too fast to provide much excitement for investors, and so far there has not been a great deal of enthusiasm about the vintage.
Here's a strong alternative suggestion for a widely-offered wine that costs much less than classed growth red Bordeaux, is already in bottle and should be shipped later this year when, if my tasting of it from cask in Châteauneuf du Pape is anything to go by, it should already provide some delicious drinking, although it should continue to improve for another four or five years or so at least.
The blend of this Côtes du Rhône produced by the Perrin family of Ch de Beaucastel from 30 hectares of vines that don't qualify for the Châteauneuf appellation is 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah and 20% Cinsault and was just bursting with health and interest. The first three ingredients are of course the classic triumvirate of thesouthern Rhône but I think it may be the Cinsault portion that makes this wine so approachable in youth. It's an often under-estimated grape variety capable of oozing charm and fruit. "A wine to make you smile", I wrote when tasting a sample of pure Cinsault 2007 at Beaucastel.
I made the white version my wine of the week back in January but make no apologies for revisiting Coudoulet this week. This is a wine with a great track record, as purple pagers on the members' forum have attested in this thread. The 2006 vintage was a real hit in the southern Rhône. The spicy, herby, complex style of southern Rhône wines is so easy to like. I really don't think you can go wrong by ordering a case of a dozen bottles of this beautifully balanced wine.
Use the Find this wine link to find a suitable merchant near you currently offering futures in this wine (although it looks as though this may be difficult in the US for the moment, I'm afraid). Remember that prices given by winesearcher.com won't include delivery and those given for UK merchants do not include our recently increased duty nor VAT so you will have to make a second (much smaller) payment before taking delivery of your wine. Best UK price at the time of writing seems to be £93 a dozen bottles in bond, which means that you will end up paying a little over £11 a bottle plus delivery - not a bad price for a proven wine that should continue to improve for several years.