I have a theory about Rasteau--that it's one of the most ageworthy wines of the Southern Rhone. And this 20-year-old Beau Mistral confirms the theory. Even though Rasteau is located very near Cairanne, it generally has a pronounced black licorice/mineral element that distinguishes it from Cairanne and other Cotes du Rhone Villages (except perhaps Vacqueyras, which has a slightly different black licorice trait). This trait is often a bit too aggressive for my taste when the wine is young but shades out beautifully with extended bottle age.
It's a medium ruby color with definite amber tints. Aromas and flavors, though, seem considerably younger. The Grenache berry/spice/licorice bouquet has gained breadth and depth and now seems very much like that of a Chateauneuf du Pape. The flavors open up beautifully. There is good strength in the ripe berry fruit. The dark minerals have softened, revealing true Rasteau goodness--mellow and savory. The best Rasteau I've ever had. But also the oldest. I'll wait a bit longer on my 1998 Beau Mistral.