La Vielle Ferme: Still a top value wine

I can’t say that I’ve been following Vielle Ferme since the very start, as this most remarkable value in European red wines has been around since 1970.

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But it wasn’t too long after that when I got my first taste of La Vieille Ferme (“The Old Farm”). It caught my attention when the memorable New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne gave it a glowing review as a great value sometime around 1976. Like thousands of other Times readers, I ran out, found a bottle, tried it, and added it to my regular shopping list.

The wine couldn’t have cost more than a couple of bucks in those days, and to my surprise, it’s still available locally for $8 (in your choice of red, white, or rosé). You’re not going to find a good quality, food-friendly French table wine for much less than that, and this wine still tastes a lot more pricey than it is. That’s a good thing.

Now, in fairness, the wine’s producers – the Perrin family of the Southern Rhône, who make a portfolio of good wines ranging upward from La Vielle Ferme to the magisterial Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe – have cut back on the sources of the wine’s grapes over its 51-year run.

In the beginning, the wine was designated Côtes-du-Rhône, the range of hillside vineyards that runs through the Rhône wine region. Somewhere along the way, as the cost of producing quality fruit rose, the Perrins moved the Vieille Ferme vineyards east to the Côtes-de-Ventoux in Provence. I couldn’t discern a quality difference. It was still a great value.

The Perrin Family's Luberon vineyards, with Mont Ventoux in the background.

The Perrin Family’s Luberon vineyards, with Mont Ventoux in the background.

Now, in recent years, the label has changed again, bearing only the completely generic “Produit de France” (“Product of France”). Guess what? The 2019 bottling that I tasted recently (reported below) still tastes excellent. The grapes might have come from anywhere in France, although based on Perrin’s website it seems reasonable to assume that at least some of the wine comes from Luberon, just south of Ventoux. We know that it’s still a typical regional blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah grapes. And I can tell you this: It’s still an appealing, food-friendly, French table wine. For eight bucks, it’s really hard to beat that.

You’ll find my tasting report below. If you’re looking for a really good European-style dry table wine for well under $10, I highly recommend La Vielle Ferme Rouge.

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Today’s Tasting Report

Famille Perrin 2019 “La Vieille Ferme” Rouge ($7.99)

La Vieille Ferme Rouge

La Vieille Ferme Rouge

La Vieille Ferme Rouge is a characteristic regional blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. The wine is a dark reddish-purple color, almost black at the center. Its cherry-berry aroma is ripe and fresh, focused on raspberry and strawberry with a back note of bing cherries. Its juicy mixed-berry flavor adds distinct tannins. Berries and sour cherries continue in a long finish with good fruit and acid balance, with firm tannins lingering. 13% alcohol. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala. (June 18, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests enjoying it “with a spontaneous meal and for enjoyment,” a delightfully pleasant if non-specific bit of advice.

WHEN TO DRINK: It’s delicious and well balanced. Although not designed for aging, it should drink well for a few years before you move on to a newer vintage.

This is a spectacular value for everyday drinking, year in and year out. lists an $8 average U.S. retail; you can actually buy a 3-liter magnum for around $20. This is one of the best low-end wine values around.

Importer Vineyard Brands has an impressive web display with much detailed information about La Vieille Ferme. Click to view it here.

Famille Perrin offers this detailed fact sheet on La Vielle Ferme 2019 Rouge.

Check prices and find vendors for La Vielle Ferme Rouge on

Check this link for more information about Famille Perrin, producers of wines from many Southern Rhône regions, including their sought-after Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe.

Read more about Ventoux and discover vendors for dozens of wines of the region on this Wine-Searcher link.


Wine Focus: Talk About Cabernet Franc

We’re headed into the next segment of our 2021 Wine Focus. For the next three months we’ll talk about wine grapes that have built their reputations on wines from particular, sometimes smaller, regions. We’ll start in July with Cabernet Franc, which built its reputation on the right bank of Bordeaux, as well as in the Loire Valley. It’s expanding its reach these days, with excellent examples from too many places to count, from the Pacific Northwest to Virginia, to Patagonia. Join us! Taste a Cab Franc and click to come talk about it with us: Wine 301: Cabernet Franc.


Good wines under $10!

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. Please tell us about your favorites!

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