Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone, 2000: Comparing the Villages and the Notre Dame des Cellettes

All of the Domaine Sainte-Anne wines are Villages quality, even the simple Cotes du Rhone. All will age well for at least a decade. As you ascend the ladder, however, from CDR to Villages to Notre Dame des Cellettes, the vines get progressively older and the wines progressively more complex and interesting. This can be seen from my notes on two wines from the 2000 vintage, one opened last week and the other, last night.

Cotes du Rhone Villages Notre Dame des Cellettes, 2000: Medium ruby. Very berry--crushed raspberries and strawberries, ripe and lovely. Not much pepper, spice or dark elements. Very enticing on the mid-palate and very long finish. Gets better on the second night after being opened and re-corked with a VacuVin, but not as good on the third night.

Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2000: Medium ruby again but not as clear and bright as the Notre Dame. The berry quality in this wine is much more subdued and takes a back seat to Southern Rhone spices--lavender, cinnamon, nutmet. More austere but still ripe, fruity and slightly tonic.

Surprisingly, as you climb the ladder, the price differential is not that great: $10 for the CDR, $12 for the CDR Villages and $14 to $16 for the Notre Dame. The Saint Gervais (even older vines and a higher percentage of Mourvedre) is selling for about $18 to $20 these days and is definitely my favorite.

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