La Vieille Ferme Blanc 2009
Jean Pierre Perrin established La Vieille Ferme over 35 years ago, when he chose to produce an inexpensive, straightforward Rhône wine to sell by direct mail to French wine lovers. He used the same grape varieties in similar proportions to those planted at the family's Chateau de Beaucastel, in a similar vinification process. The result was an immediate success in France, a wine of character and style in keeping with its Beaucastel heritage.
Initially, Jean Pierre made only Côtes du Rhône, but steeply rising grape prices in 1976 caused him to switch to Côtes du Ventoux and eventually to produce a white wine from the mountainous Côtes du Luberon. La Vieille Ferme was introduced to the United States in 1970. The response was an immediate, overwhelming acceptance and an outpouring of critical acclaim from eminently knowledgeable critics who recognized La Vieille Ferme for its consistently fine quality and value.
Nearly synonymous with fine wine and all things epicurean, France has a culture of wine production and consumption that is deeply rooted in tradition. Many of the world’s most beloved grape varieties originated here, as did the concept of “terroir”—soil type, elevation, slope and mesoclimate combine to produce resulting wines that convey a sense of place. Accordingly, most French wine is labeled by geographical location, rather than grape variety. So a general understaning of which grapes correspond to which regions can be helpful in navigating all of the types of French wine. Some of the greatest wine regions in the world are here, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Champagne, but each part of the country has its own specialties and strengths.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the king and queen of Burgundy, producing elegant red and white wines with great acidity, the finest examples of which can age for decades. The same two grapes, along with Pinot Meunier, are used to make Champagne.
Of comparable renown is Bordeaux, focused on bold, structured red blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc including sometimes a small amount of Petit Verdot or Malbec. The primary white varieties of Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
Most of these grape varieties are planted throughout the country and beyond, extending their influence into other parts of Europe and New World appellations.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.