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$5.99 2001 Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone at Trader Joe's

  • m

If you're lucky enough to live in a state that allows grocers to sell wine, RUN don't walk to Trader Joe's to buy the 2001 Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone for $5.99 per bottle. Saturday afternoon I spotted these on the shelf of the San Francisco SOMA location. Vidal-Fleury is a long-established, traditional producer that provided a training ground for E. Guigal. Then in 1985, Guigal purchased the estate and the wines have improved steadily and gained more finesse since then, especially the ones from the Southern Rhone. 2001 was an excellent year in the region and even little wines, such as Cotes du Rhone, had the balance and stuffing to gain from time in the cellar.

This now has two years of bottle age on it and has hit its prime drinking window. When I pulled the cork (artificial so no fear of corkiness) an hour ago, the scent of spicy black plums immediately wafted out of the bottle and I said to myself, "oh yeah, this is going to be nice!" The first impression on the palate is plump Grenache fruit of jammy strawberries and roasted meat. Then the Syrah, which makes up 30% of the blend, kicks in with some gaminess, inky black fruit depth and length. The tannins are mostly resolved but enough remains to create a bit of a pucker around the lips and will allow this wine to hold for another six months to a year. It opens up fast in the glass with a many-layered and intense bouquet. Very expressive now with a warm personality and more complexity than the typical Cotes du Rhone, this full-bodied wine is easy to drink with a satisfying rounded, plush mouthfeel. The aftertaste is quite persistent but it finishes just a little short. But all in all, a delicious quaff and quite a deal at this price. 87 points

Importer: W. J. Deutsch & Sons, Harrison NY

Link: http://www.liffordwineagency.com/wine...

Image: http://www.liffordwineagency.com/wine...

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  1. Many thanks for the heads-up. Now I pray my local wine store stocks it -- it sounds wonderful.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Beevod

      Here are the retail locations that popped up in Winesearcher.com. Looks like you can expect to pay $8 to $12 per bottle elsewhere.

      Link: http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/vid...

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Melanie, I can't believe you're not using the PRO version ;-)

        1. re: RicRios

          Hehe, my cellar is bulging and I have passed the stage where I just HAVE TO HAVE this or that bottle.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Yes, Melanie, it was $9.99 at my local merchant in Westchester County, NY. I am enjoying its complexity and dry fruitiness!!! Still a good buy.

      2. Thanks for the info, but it's not at TJs in Illinois.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rjka

          nor in D.C./Virginia . . .

        2. It's not at Trader Joe's in Reno, either, but that's not surprising. All alcoholic beverages must go through a wholesaler in Nevada, which severely limits wine choices. It also means Two Buck Chucks are actually Three Buck Chucks here.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Steve Timko

            This kind of pricing is likely an importer-direct sale to TJ's. I know that the importer, Deutsch, goes direct with its Marques de Caceres Riojas. In SF the price for the blanco is $3.99, less than the wholesale price in many states. It's usually a good wine, but I have trouble convincing people of that because the price is so low! So, perhaps the availability is limited to states where the three-tier system is not mandated. Haven't heard from anyone in Southern Calif. yet, wonder if it's available outside the Bay Area. Anyway, if you're in the San Francisco area, the thread linked below gives updates on where 'hounds are finding the wine.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Checked at TJ's in Fresno today, no luck. They did have the 03 Meridian Res. Pinot that another poster mentioned however.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks for the head-up on this wine. Bought a bottle on Tuesday, drank it for dinner, and went back to the Fresno TJs today to buy some more. Got a case that was on the shelf. Don't know if there was more in the back, as there was nobody available to ask.

            2. Widely available in Southern California. Nice find Melanie. Great Tuesday night wine.

              1. A nice wine, yes, but even better is the 2001 Coteau Brule Cotes du Rhone Villages from Cairanne at $5.99. I'm willing to share the tip because I've already worked my way through a case.

                1. Melanie,

                  I admittedly have little experience with Southern Cotes du Rhone, and was curious enought to buy the J. Fleury the other day. I found it overly 'something' for my taste (which is usually quite open to lots of varietals and blends). I presume it was the Grenache that produced what I would best describe as an overpoweringly strong, but not pleasantly fruity taste. It was very jammy, but not in the way I've come to like. I wish I could describe it better. Is this wine particularly high in alcohol? I often react that way to wines that are 'hot' and not balanced well. I'm really curious about this and you seem to have this stuff nailed down very well. I'm trying to learn more about French wine in particular.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Midlife

                    I believe the bottle says 13%. I have had many more California wines that are "hot" than Cotes du Rhone.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Oddly enough, I asked the same question about % when I first tasted it. It opens up and mellows out tremendously though. If you have another bottle leave it alone for an hour or so and then try it.

                      1. re: JudiAU

                        Yes. It was much more appealing to me the next day. I'm not sure an hour would have been enough, but I'll try that with the other bottle. Thanks.