As much as I loved the Lou Peyrau Cotes du Rhone last night, this 1998 Sainte Anne CDR Villages blew it away. Made in a similar red-fruited style, this wine simply has more concentration, depth and class.
It's a very deep plummy red, noticeably darker than the Lou Peyrau. Crusted sediment on one side of the bottle is a good omen. This is a Grenache-based beauty stuffed with ripe fruit and good balancing acidity. The bouquet is well developed but still fresh with red raspberries, flowers, spices and garrigue. The texture is silky smooth and mouth filling with layers and layers of flavor. Tannins are very fine and ripe, adding good structure and lift without obstructing any flavor elements.
Sainte Anne wines come from the Gard region of the Southern Rhone, which is cooler than Vaucluse, allowing good acidity for grapes picked at optimal ripeness. And the domaine takes great care to make the wine in a traditional style with minimal exposure to oxygen. Many 1998 Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are showing their age by now, and that's no embarrassment. This wine has many years ahead of it.