Sunday, October 19, 2008

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Notre Dame des Cellettes, 1998

This wine is not going to knock your socks off, and that's why I like it so much. As the Winedoctor pointed out on his excellent web site four years ago, this is a "drinker's wine which has a lovely, elegant style."

It's medium deep, still looks young. The nose is a bit reticent, still young. After 15 to 20 minutes in the glass, it opens up a bit, revealing scents of fresh cherries and black raspberries, deeper and more complex even than Sainte-Anne's Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Villages (both excellent wines). Grenache is 60% of the blend, but at this stage the wine smells more like Syrah--reminiscent of a good Hermitage or Cote Rotie from the Northern Rhone. There's Mourvedre in the blend too, but it's still a bit shy, with only hints of the characteristic spiciness. In the mouth, it's appropriately ripe and very classy with a silky texture. The wine has substance and concentration without thickness, tannins or alcoholic warmth. Beautiful.

This Cotes du Rhone Villages is drinking beautifully now, but I have no qualms about keeping a few bottles for another five or even ten years. I'm looking forward to more of the Mourvedre spiciness.


  1. I love this producer as it's always a bargain. How the heck did you find a 98?

  2. I bought mine when it was released (2000?), as I have every vintage since 1996. I bought Sainte-Anne off and on beginning in the early 1980s but decided with the 1996 vintage that it is a wine to buy every year. Since it drinks so well young and ages so beautifully, there is very little risk--especially when it was selling for $8 to $10 a bottle, as it was here in the late 1990s.

    Unfortunately, the distributor in Michigan who brings it in changed ownership last year. Prices have gone up, and the top cuvees of 2006 haven't arrived yet. Oh well...