Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Notre Dame des Cellettes, 1998

While this cuvee of Domaine Sainte Anne is only 60% Grenache (with the rest Syrah and Mourvedre), it is all Grenache in personality and style. Particularly compared to d'Arenberg Old Vine Shiraz (below) the color is medium light with some amber tones but good brilliance. There are some signs of maturity here, but the wine is so well balanced that I see it going on at this level for years. The bouquet and flavors are all classic Sainte Anne--very ripe red berry Grenache with a doughy, yeasty quality. Strawberries in a warm pie crust with full cream; hard to resist. The wine is medium bodied with a silky elegance and finely focused flavors that go on and on. On the second night, spicy Mourvedre notes come through even more than the Grenache, and the wine somehow seems to have gained some substance and depth overnight.

This is my first bottle of the 1998 Notre Dame in several years, and it has probably matured more than the regular Cotes du Rhone and CDR Villages from this estate (which I drink more regularly). It is a finer wine than either of these, however, and has impeccable balance. I'm looking forward to following it over the next five to ten years.

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