Thursday, March 31, 2011
Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages, 1998
It's my birthday week, after all, so I'm having a ball opening some of my favorite wines. If you know me or come here often, you know that Domaine Sainte Anne ranks very high with me. The domaine's wines are not widely available; in fact, since the 2007 vintage, I haven't been able to find them in my own marketing areas. When they are available, they are great values (this CDR Villages sells for $10 to $12). And even the lesser cuvees are capable of aging for at least 10 years and usually much more. As for this 1998 Cotes du Rhone Villages, I tasted it right alongside the excellent Marcous Chateauneuf du Pape, and it held its own quite nicely. The color, as always, is a deep, pure crimson. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete and stainless steel vats with almost no exposure to air. The only problem with this is that the wine is sometimes so reduced that it fails to show all that it has to offer during its youth. Aromas and flavors are very deep and typical of Domaine Sainte Anne--dark cherries, blueberries, pepper and a ripe honey/vanilla note on the finish that might lead some to think (incorrectly) that the wine is aged in new oak. This wine admittedly does not have the concentration, richness or complexity of the older Chateauneufs I had last night. But it's very good.