Domaine de Cristia produced its first vintage of its 80-year-old vine Grenache grown on the Cristia lieu dit next to Rayas, named appropriately enough "Vieilles Vignes" in 2004. It was an instant hit with critics and consumers alike and, when it was released in 2006, was good value at around £25 per bottle (you can double that today).
At eight years old, the wine has shed its primary character but it hasn't quite got round to the next phase yet. At first there is a hint of varnish on the nose (something that seems quite common for this style of wine at this stage of its evolution) but this blows off with a little breathing. As indicated, the fruit character is not giving its best just now but, having come across this before, I know it is just a matter of time before the secondary glow appears.
What does interest me now is the texture of this wine. In particular, the weight of the wine is excellent. The tannins are smooth and the alcohol is not overly apparent. This is a food wine that can be enjoyed on its own now (given an hour or two aeration) but I think I will keep my other couple of bottles back another five years at least.