The Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015 is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah grown in “Villages” designated vineyards in the southern Rhone region of France, south of Switzerland and west of the Italian border. In the Cotes du Rhone AOC in terms of perceived quality, the lowest designation is simply Cotes du Rhone and those grapes can be grown anywhere within the Rhone boundaries. The next step up is Villages which includes 95 towns in the region that are deemed to have special growing conditions, these villages comprise about 20% of the total region. The next step up is grapes from vineyards in the hillside surrounding one of 18 (of the 95) that are rated the very top locations, and the top of the line designation is Cru, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Tavel (known for Rose’ wine). So, this is a $10 Red blend grown in the top 20% of vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone. The Famille Perrin was founded in 1909 and since has acquired vineyards and estates thru-out the area and have a solid reputation for offering wines of consistently excellent quality. The Red wine blends of the Cotes du Rhone Villages must have a minimum of 50% Grenache with at least 20% Syrah or Mourvedre, Perrin does not give the exact percentages and I would imagine that they vary with each vintage. The alcohol content is 14%.
The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is a little smokey, dark berries, tea, and little pepper, raspberry jam (not sweet) and a touch of vanilla. The is a firm, dry wine, well-balanced with solid structure. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, strawberry, and black pepper. The mid-palate offers light herbs, bitter dark chocolate, exotic spice, and a late hit of blueberry. The tannins make their presence known, in a good way, and the acidity gives the flavors plenty of time to unfold. The finish is subtle, but long.
The Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015 is an exceptionally solid ten buck bottle of wine. I have been drinking a lot of California or Washington State Red blends lately and even though the southern Rhone Valley produce very American palate friendly wines, they just hit your taste buds differently from west coast American wines. At first taste they seem austere, but that sensation goes away half way thru the first glass and then you appreciate the fine structure and balance. Simply put, the Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015 is a first class bottle of wine that just happens to sell for $10.