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Apr 11, 2007 11:41 AM

2003 Côtes du Rhône

We have just bought some bottles of Domaine de Soumade Côtes du Rhône "Fleur de Confiance" 2003. The seller could not tell us when it will be ready to drink - only that it will keep at least 10-12 years. Does anybody have an idea?

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  1. I don't think of Cotes du Rhone as wines for long aging. 2003 in particular was a hot growing season, and French wines tend to be high in fruit and alcohol. I've had 2003 (and even 2004) Rhone wines and they are drinking nicely now.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jmasek

      Generally speaking I think you're spot on.
      However, I recall reading about this bottle and it's supposed to one of the few gems in an othersise off vintage.
      The excessive heat from the '03 vintage most likely produced a high alcohol wine so I wouldn't open one of your bottles for at least 4-5 years in order to let the wine/tannins settle. Looking ahead, the bottles should last 10-15 years.

      1. re: vinosnob

        thank you for the answer. We found the bottles at our local supermarket at a very favourable price (about 150 danish kroner per bottle (appr. 25 dollars)).
        We will let it rest in our Wine cabinet for at least 4 years.

    2. You probably got the 2003 Domaine la Soumade Rasteau Cuvee Fleur de Confiance.
      If that's the case, according to Parker you got an absolutely outstanding juice. Here's the Guru's opinion:

      RATING: 95 points
      PRODUCER: Domaine la Soumade
      FROM: Rasteau , Cotes du Rhone Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone, France,
      VARIETY: Proprietary Blend
      DRINK: 2006 - 2021
      SOURCE: Wine Advocate, #163
      Feb 2006
      A spectacular offering, and one of the Southern Rhone’s top successes in the irregular 2003 vintage is Soumade’s 2003 Fleur de Confiance Rasteau. This blockbuster wine boasts notes of plum liqueur, blueberries, blackberries, figs, scorched earth, espresso, and flowers. Tipping the scales at 16+% alcohol, it is almost surreal in its richness and power. Romero believes it will last for two decades or more, but I would recommend drinking it over the next 14-15 years. This amazing cuvee is one of the finest Southern Rhone wines I have ever tasted outside Chateauneuf du Pape. Importer: Eric Solomon, European Cellars, Charlotte, NC; tel. (704) 358-1565

      Copyright © The Wine Advocate, Inc
      Posted with permission of

      6 Replies
      1. re: RicRios

        Good god. He talks about 16+% alcohol as though it's a good thing. With advocates like Arpy, no wonder 11% wines are becoming dodos. MADD should declare him Public Enemy No. 1...

        Also, how long before winemakers begin implementing a scorched earth policy?

        Someone should pen a Parker glossary. Here's a start:
        Power = do not uncork near an open flame
        Richness = Smucker's should be so jammy
        Blockbuster = prepare to have your palate bruised

        1. re: carswell

          Well, let's look at the Guru's bright side: you and I immensely enjoyed in the past, and will undoubtedly continue to enjoy, all those sissy bottles he rates in the mid-to-(God Forbid! low) 80s, made very affordable for that exact same reason?

          1. re: RicRios

            Hey, don't forget to include me in that group! ;^)

          2. re: carswell

            Well - I wouldn't be as harsh as that. May I draw your attention to another source of reliable information to french wines. We have subscribed to "La Revue de vin de France" for some years. They issue a very comprehensive survey of the best domaines every year in september called "Le Classement des meilleures vins de France". In french.

            1. re: AnnaSofie

              The problem with La Revue is that Michael Brettane left. But it's very good indeed.

            2. re: carswell

              Fantastic! Agree ENTIRELY with your thoughts on Parker, especially with the higher alcohol content trend.

          3. I've always enjoyed Soumade wines that I've had. I was in a Rhone tasting which included both the 1998 and 1999 Rateau Confiance (the lower end version of the Fleur) and a majority of the tasters were pleasantly surprised with both wines. I actually seeked out and ordered a few bottles via winesearcher immediately the following day.

            I also recently had the 2000 Fleur de Confiance and enjoyed it immensely.

            I felt that the 1999 and 2000 were already drinking nicely then, but could nicely integrate a bit more with about 5 more years of bottle age.