Rasteau is a charming Provencal village in Southern Rhone. Located just below Mont Ventoux and the peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Rasteau has a sunny Mediterranean climate, rolling hills, cobblestone streets and an abundance of vineyards. With a long history with winemaking, Rasteau has traditionally been known for making luscious Vins doux Naturels. In more recent years, with the emergence of new winemakers, Rasteau is rapidly gaining recognition for its dry red wines.
Planted mostly on southern facing vineyards, fields of Grenache, Mouvedre and Syrah line the landscape of this picturesque village. Rasteau benefits from Mediterranean influences, where the summers are warm and the winters are mild, and the famous Mistral Winds play a major role. One of Rasteau’s advantages is its varied soils, the terroir gives its wines a wonderful richness and elegance. The dry red wines of Rasteau are thought to be more masculine and powerful than its neighboring Crus. The wines are fruity, powerful and distinctly Southern Rhone with herbal notes and a presence of Garrigue(wild resinous herbs present throughout the landscape).
Rasteau is one of the newer rising stars of the Southern Rhone, as the AOC was promoted to Cru status in 2010. Grenache is the king of the vineyards, making up at least 50% of the varietal mix. It’s the oldest varietal grown in Rasteau with some vines over 100 years old. The dry red wines of Rasteau are primarily Grenache-based, with Mouvedre and Syrah blended in. The Vins doux Naturels from Rasteau is made from Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, and Grenache Gris.
Tasting The Gems Of Rasteau
Cave de Rasteau La Domelière 2017 (SRP $15.00)
Cave de Rasteau is one of the oldest cooperatives in the Southern Rhône Valley, comprised of 180 growers. Soils and exposures vary, with most of the vineyards located on hillsides with quartzite pebbles and terraces with clay and chalk
The wine is a deep purple tone, with ripe black plum, raspberries, and cherry aromas. On the palate, the full body is softened with velvety tannins. Savory notes of spices and tobacco linger on the finish.
Domaine de Beaurenard 2017 (SRP $18.00)
Brothers Frédéric and Daniel Coulon are the seventh generation to run Domaine de Beaurenard. The estate covers just under 80 acres in Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC and 60 acres in the Rasteau AOC. As of2010, all vineyards have been certified organic and/or biodynamic. Along with focusing on the earth and biodiversity, the yields are kept low to enhance concentration and expression.
Deep ruby in color, the nose is expressive of garrigue, blueberries, and raspberry. This full-bodied wine is accompanied by plum, raspberry, spice, and thyme, with graphite minerality showing on the finish.
Domaine de Verquière 2017 (SRP $16.00)
Located in Sablet, Domaine de Verquière is a 110-acre family estate, currently helmed by the fourth generation. Thibaut Chamfort studied in California and South Africa before taking the reins and incorporating his new world training with family traditions. The Rasteau vineyards have two distinct terroirs: beige marl and pebbles on the slopes, and clay-chalk on the plains. All plots have been certified organic since 2014.
Vibrant garnet color, notes of blackberry and cassis jump out of the glass. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, with ripe red berries, spices, and licorice. The finish is long and complex, leaving notes of spice and garrigue lingering on the tongue.
Domaine Elodie Balme 2017 (SRP $25.00)
Elodie Balme is a young female winemaker who studied under Marcelo Richaud, one of the pioneers of biodynamic viticulture in the southern Rhône. She founded Domaine Elodie Balme when she was 23 years old. Her first vintage in 2006 was produced from nearly 10 acres belonging to her father Bernard — Bernard and Elodie are partners, and work the estate together. She vinifies close to 69 acres, with the rest of the grapes sold to the cave cooperative. Elodie has instituted organic farming practices, such as eliminating pesticides and herbicides from the majority of the 69 acres and using organic fertilizers. Elodie strives to achieve organic certification, a process she is getting closer to each year.
This well-structured wine is chock full of dark fruits, violet, candied fruits, and spices. It pairs well with game (wild boar) and Provencal beef stew.
Here’s a list of great Rasteau articles from my fellow French #Winophiles. Be sure to check in on them for more great Rasteau wines and pairings.
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam Shares “A Birthday Tradition + Side-by-Side Sips of Domaine de Verquière Rasteau”
David from Cooking Chat Food Writes About “Chicken Lentil Stew and Rhone Wine from Rasteau”
Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen tells us how to “Become a Rasteau—farian”
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator says “Go Grenache, Go Rasteau”
Jane from Always Ravenous Writes About “Flavors of Provence Paired with Rhône Rasteau Wines”
Jeff from Food Wine Click Explains “Rasteau and the Côtes du Rhône Quality Pyramid”
Kat from The Corkscrew Concierge Explain How She is “Expanding my Rhône Valley Palate with Rasteau Wine”
Linda from My Full Wine Glass Writes about “Basking in the Glow of Rasteau” #Winophiles
Liz from What’s In That Bottle Says, “You Like Big Reds? Get to Know Rasteau”
Lynn from Savor the Harvest writes about “Rhone Valley Rasteau Cru – A New Generation Wine With Duck Confit #winophiles”
Martin from Enofylz Writes About “Getting To Know Rasteau”
Nicole from Somm’s Table Shares “Five Nights of Rasteau”
Pinny from Chinese Food & Wine Pairings Writes About “One Rabbit, Two Turkey Drumsticks and Four Rasteau Wines”
Payal from Keep the Peas writes about “Rasteau: Not So Rustic in the Southern Rhone”
Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles writes about “Fall, Thanksgiving and the flavors of Rasteau”
Rupal from Syrah Queen writes, “Rasteau – Exploring The Gems of Southern Rhone”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm Shares “A German-Style Shepherds Pie with a French Rasteau”
Join in on the Rasteau Mania! Please join our Twitter chat on Saturday, Nov 16th at 11 am Eastern time. Our hashtag is #winophiles Be sure to look out for @RhoneWines and hashtags: #rhone #rasteau #rasteauwine #rhonewine