The label reads "Cotes du Rhone" and the price tag says $7.99. But what's inside the bottle is serious wine. The color is a deep, dark ruby; hasn't changed much in a decade. As for the smells and tastes, the changes are all for the better. Has lost some of its simple blueberries and cream fruitiness; spicy complexity is emerging. Very compact fruit smells--dark cherries, lavender and flowers. On the palate, there is the dryness of a good Barolo in middle age--not drying fruit but the sign of substantial tannins just beginning to show. They are fruit, rather than wood, tannins, though, and they are very ripe. The wine has been forward and beautiful to drink from day one, but after more than a decade in the bottle, it is showing the nuances that maturity can bring.
Because it's a Cotes du Rhone (the price has gone up to $10 to $12 a bottle as buyers recognize the quality), this wine gets consumed way too early in my opinion. It's really a CDR Villages wine and more ageworthy than most Vacqueyras or Rasteau wines.