Even though it has a lower appellation, this 1998 Domaine Sainte Anne is much younger than the 1998 Tourade Gigondas (below). It is mature, however, and will never have the power of the Gigondas.
The color is a deep ruby with slight browning at the rim. The bouquet is typical Sainte Anne--raspberries, sweet cherries, garrigue and a touch of honey. The honey (or vanilla) has led some tasters to say that the wine has been aged in new oak, and that is definitely not the case. Sainte Anne uses only stainless steel and concrete vats in a very reductive winemaking process. There is none of the oxidation that creates some of Tourade's rustic charm. On the palate, it's ripe, ripe, ripe from front to back with some slight astringency on the mid-palate. With airing and warming, some nice floral touches emerge. As this wine ages, it becomes more and more like its sibling, the 1998 Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone. The Villages has always been more subtle and complex, but the simple Cotes du Rhone seems to be catching up in that respect.