Two of my favorite Cotes du Rhone Villages are Cairanne and Rasteau. Although these two areas are within a few kilometers of each other, the wines are very different. While Cairanne wines are generally spicy and peppery, Rasteaus have a dark, dense component to the aroma and flavor that probably comes from minerals in the soil. I usually prefer Cairanne, but this bottle suggested to me that I may be drinking my Rasteau wines too early. This one at least has aged beautifully.
The color is still dense and dark and so is the bouquet--blackstrap molasses more than licorice. But also dark cherries and black raspberries. Deep and intense. It dances on the tongue with ripe, ripe flavors from front to back. This is the last bottle of a case I bought 15 years ago; alas, it's by far the best.
Most Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are probably consumed before they are eight years old; this one is nearing 18 and at its peak.