I've been collecting wines since the 80s and have been enthralled by the wines made from Rhone grapes coming from regions all over France. That's why when I find older wines in the cellar that I forgot I had I just have to open them to see where they have ended up.
Last night was one of those nights and the old wine of the night was a 1994 Domaine Sorin Cotes de Provence. Yes, 1994. As in 21 years old, for a wine that cost back then about $8.00 a bottle. In this case the Sorin wine, which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvédre was initially a bit heavy on the Mourvedre and the aromatics showed that.
As it opened and developed in the glass, the red Provence wine became absolutely amazing. Two hours later you would have thought the wine was less than five years old. It was layered with all kinds of brambly fruit, berries, cherries and spice. Candidly, the wine was an outperformer at every turn. Who says Provence wines can't age.
The other two wines were the 2009 Halos de Jupiter Gigondas and Rasteau. The Gigondas is a blend of Mourvedre and Grenache, while the Rasteau is 100 percent Grenache. These are very different wines with the Rasteau being the crowd favorite. That all said, the Gigondas is an old school style Gigondas so in my mind while the Rasteau may be showing all kinds of fruit and spice today, the stone ladened and minerally layered Gigondas will need a few more years to open.
Both of the Helios wines are exceptional from a vintage that was overshadowed the successive 2010 and 2011 harvests. But, given how much joy was in the two Halos de Jupiter wines, I can only hope that the remaining bottles I have from Philippe Cambie's Helios winery live as long as Luc Sorin's 1994.