I once drove on a one-lane road through vineyards in Cote Rotie and can testify about the steepness of the "roasted slopes." There was no way of turning back, and there were times I felt the car might tip over backward. The steep slopes, the old vines and the cool climate produce Cote Rotie wines that are sometimes, though not always, capable of lasting for many years, although they are often made for drinking relatively early.
I enjoyed some bottles of this wine at about 8 to 10 years of age when it was showing beautifully. Then a few years later, the flamboyant flavors and aromas seemed to disappear, and I truly thought the wine was dead. Fortunately, I didn't drink it up or throw it away, and a decade later I came to it again to find a different but no less beautiful wine. Now fully mature, the color is a medium garnet with more than a touch of amber. But it still has good clarity and brilliance. The aromas are what you expect from Cote Rotie--smoky bacon fat, grilled tomatoes and violets. There are also some old barrel smells, but I don't find these distracting. The taste is typical of mature Syrah with good acid to carry the flavor through the finish. There's a salty, savory character that I find quite nice. It's not as good as the 1982 Domaine Thalabert I had last Christmas nor the 1982 Hermitage la Chapelle I had several years ago but still has pleasure to give.