Robert Parker considers the 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone the best he has tasted in his lifetime, and from the wines I have tasted so far, I have no reason to question that judgment. There have been many very good to excellent vintages recently, however, including 1998 and 2001. From Cotes du Rhone all the up to Chateauneuf du Pape, the 1998s were hard to resist when they were young--more impressive, in my opinion, than the 2007s at the same stage. And with few exceptions, the ones I've tasted have aged very nicely so far. The 2001s, even simple Cotes du Rhones, were a bit reticent when they were first released, but the quality was apparent. And these wines seem to be aging as well or even better than the 1998s--as evidenced by this inexpensive Cotes du Rhone, drinking beautifully at age 8.
The color is a medium deep ruby, and the aromas are fresh and lovely--blueberries, spice, flowers and just a hint of peppercorns. In the mouth, the wine is medium bodied and sleek. It has the structure, substance and drinkability of a good Pinot Noir. Even at age 8, this Cotes du Rhone could easily be mistaken for a 2007.