The last bottle of this I had was in January, 2013, and no other wine I had that year matched it or even came close. For 2014, once again, this is unquestionably my Wine of the Year. It's the top Cairanne cuvee from Corinne Couturier of Rabasse Charavin, and 80% is Grenache from well placed 100-year-old vines plus 20% Syrah from younger but still low-yielding vines. The pedigree is clear from the first sniff to the last glorious after taste. This is a great wine.
It has definitely matured over the past year and a half, but I wouldn't say the changes are either good nor bad. It's just a different wine. The color has good saturation for a wine this age, and the bouquet wafts gracefully from the bottle and glass. Grenache berries, concentrated and compact, flowers and herbs. Everything you should expect from a top Southern Rhone and then some. Silky on the palate; true class. The crinkly flavors of mature Grenache from very old vines. And a long, beautiful finish. Special wine.
Unfortunately, this wine (and any others from Rabasse Charavin) are very difficult to find anywhere in this country. I got my bottles at a WineBid auction a few years ago. Other bidders apparently felt that a 12-year-old Cotes du Rhone Villages was likely to be over the hill.