After my cellar disappointed me with a corked, 17-year-old Bordeaux, I was due for a nice surprise. I found it with a 2009 Domaine Chamfort Rasteau, a Cotes du Rhone Villages that I had hoped would stand the test of time. It did, bursting with lavender and herb aromas followed by silky strawberry and blackberry flavors and hints of rosemary and pepper. Delicious, comes to mind.
I remember socking away a few bottles of this after first tasting its heavy tannins and dense fruit shortly after it was released. The hilltop village of Rasteau, an AOC, is known for producing long-lived wines even though many Cotes du Rhones are intended for consumption within a couple of years. This wine cost less than $20 a bottle, which makes it a good target for those hoping to start a cellar on a budget. Trust me, you will be immensely rewarded.
The primary grapes in this region, located just north of Orange, are grenache noir, syrah and mourvedre -- three grapes that give the wine so much dimension, vibrant red fruit flavors and floral aromas. It's a fun wine, but the Cotes du Rhones from Rasteau take fun to a more serious level.