Determined to get my Syrah fix, I was briefly foiled by a corky 1998 Rostaing, which continued a recent unfortunate run of corky bottles I’ve come across from this Northern Rhône producer. I then opened a bottle of ’99 and was nicely rewarded.
The ’99 vintage was a stellar one for the Côte-Rôtie appellation, producing rich, dark wines that are just hitting their stride now. This bottling showed the vintage’s typically dark, mulled black cherry and olive notes, with mouthwatering acidity still driving it all. The finish then let white pepper and lavender hints chime in, typical of the Rostaing style, with the fruit smoldering on nicely. I gave it 93 points, non-blind, and in line with when I tasted a retrospective of ’99 Côte-Rôties (see the article and the full tasting notes) in the Nov. 30, 2008, issue.
Vintner René Rostaing is a quiet modernist—he adds a few new casks to his cellar each year for just a touch of new oak, and he does have a rotofermentor to keep the cap of grape solids and juice mixed during fermentation to better extract the color and tannins. But he basically practices hands-off vinification, and his wines take on a decidedly terroir-driven profile as they age, as evidenced in this 10-year-old wine.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for R. Rostaing Côte-Rôtie 1999 (93, $75 on release).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated wines from Côte-Rôtie.