For years, Domaine de l'Espigouette's Cotes du Rhone Villages has been one of my favorite wines. In 2004, the new Plan de Dieu appellation was added to the label, and I've fought my way through half a case wondering what is wrong with this wine. With this bottle, finally, I found some attractive qualities...but not the spicy, black licorice qualities I wanted.
The color is a medium deep ruby, a bit darker than you'd expect from a Grenache-based wine. The smells are more like Syrah than Grenache--black plums and berries, lavender and coffee. Aroma and flavors are reserved but quite nice--ripe fruit, slightly firm in the middle, nothing jammy but an enjoyable finish. Fruit and oak seem to be integrating and developing into an attractive package, and that may be the problem for me. Apparently, winemaker Bernard Latour has decided to use some new oak or small barrels for this wine, and the result is a wine that is like hundreds of other international-styled wines on the market but lacks the unique peppery, spicy, licorice-laced qualities I have come to know and expect from Domaine de l'Espigouette's Cotes du Rhone Villages.