Perrin Family — La Vieille Ferme Rosé
or…Finding the Perrin style in three cousins
This tasting of the Perrin family’s La Vieille Ferme rosé is part of a series on the Perrin Family. For an overview of the series see: Tasting the Perrin Family Wines.
One of the most ubiquitous wines of the Perrin family’s is La Vieille Ferme (The Old Farm en français). You might know the wine as the Rooster wine or Chicken wine due to the distinctively illustrated rooster and chicken on the label. The wines are widely distributed and can be found at most wine shops retailing somewhere around $7 – $10. One day last summer it was hot outside with little relief upcoming. I sat down to begin this tasting series with budget friendly rosé.
When shopping for this series’ wines I was surprised not to find the wine on the shelves of the grocer Trader Joes. Instead I found some suspiciously similar looking wines including a rosé under the label La Ferme Julien (these boasting labels with a distinctively illustrated goat!). Though no mention of the Perrin family on the label, the Perrin’s website confirmed these wines are similar or possibly the same wines as La Vieille Ferme. So for fun, I threw this rosé into the mix.
Lastly as a benchmark and because I never pass an opportunity to open a bottle, I added Tablas Creek’s Rosé to the tasting as well.
On to the tasting… I tasted each wine at both 65°F and 52°F. Rosés are often drunk cold but I didn’t want to mask any flaws with the cool temperature. Yet, it would be a real disservice to rosés at this low price point to actually drink them warmer than quite chilled.
2011 La Vieille Ferme Rosé
52°F – The nose showed pretty and bright but indistinct red fruit. The wine’s flavor immediately triggered thoughts of bubble-gum; simplistic, the finish lingered with watermelon candy such as Jolly Rancher. This is a lightweight wine, fairly soft with a touch of pleasant acid through the short finish. It is a one-note wine, but charming and refreshing.
65°F – At the warmer temperature the wine’s bouquet was significantly more elaborate. The wine shows still very clean and elegant but now with a more distinct strawberry character along with floral and slight tobacco notes. In the mouth however, the wine is completely different: much weightier with a distinct acid backbone. The favors are less fresh, more like stewed tart fruit. The finish is clean with only slightly perfumed scents.
2011 La Ferme Julien Rosé
52°F – Remarkably this wine has no nose whatsoever. Vigorous swirling exposes absolutely nothing. On the tongue the wine remains dumb; it’s muted and simply wet. There is a touch of awkward astringency showing the wine to be out of balance yet finishes with a slight hint of the missing fruit. Overall inoffensive yes, but ultimately why bother drinking alcoholic water? I have to believe that this is indeed a different wine than the La Vieille Ferme. I don’t how much bottle variation there might be in this production but the two wines show no resemblance.
65°F – Here the wine shows immediate fruit at the nose. The character is a deep strawberry aroma very similar to the La Vieille Ferme but more singular. Again, the wine is very wet in the mouth with only subtle fruit flavors. It is very lacking and finishes short and forgettable.
2011 Tablas Creek Rosé
52°F – The fruit is fairly muted in the nose with only a subtle gamy note; almost a cheddar cheese like aroma which might be a first for me. In the mouth the wine immediately explodes with great strawberry jam flavors and again gamy undertones. This is a thoughtful rose, layered with a great balance, full mouthfeel while finishing quite clean and leaving the mouth salivating. What the wine lacks in bouquet it makes up for in the mouth.
65°F – Aromas jump out the glass at the warmer temperature. Rich cranberry dominates, overwhelming those gamy notes. The wine tickles the tongue with sharp acid and hot alcohol and gives a long lasting finish. Complex flavors start out as bright fresh candy strawberry and cranberry and give way to heartier cooked fruit. The wine is delicious but would benefit from food to mellow the texture.
These three rosés share in common a prettiness and femininity with the La Vieille Ferme and Tablas Creek being worthy of their price points. The La Ferme Julien proved to be undeserving of any attention. Unsurprisingly the much more expensive and hand crafted Tablas Creek showed what I consider to be the Perrin traits of elegance and intricacy. Structure (from acid) I expect from any Perrin produced wine. Aside from the outlier La Ferme Julien the La Vieille Ferme Rosé and Tablas Creek Rosé both prove food friendly lively wines and certainly Perrin-esq.