Wine Wednesday: Rasteau AOC

By: Cecily Gamba

It’s our favorite day of the week, Wine Wednesday! Grab a glass and enjoy our continued journey to learn all things Rhône. This week’s topic: Rasteau AOC.

Rasteau is a village in Southern Rhône located about 15 miles northeast of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It lies off the Ouveze river, which feeds into the Rhône.

Image via Vaucluse-Visites-virtuelles

Rasteau has long been known for its vin doux naturel, which are sweet, fortified wines. These wines first became recognized in the 18th century, until 1870, when phylloxera destroyed the Rasteau vineyard. Having had to be replanted with American rootstock, production of these sweet wines slowed dramatically. By 1935, a resurgence of production happened in the area, and sweet wines were once again produced. The Rasteau AOC was created for the vin doux naturel in 1944. Dry wines were produced as well, however these wines were made under the Côtes du Rhône AOC, as a named Village. In 2010, the dry wines of Rasteau were finally recognized for their quality, and Rasteau became a Cru of the Southern Rhône Valley.

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The climate in Rasteau is classically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers, and cool winters. The hot weather allows Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre to reach their full ripening potential. Grenache especially flourishes here, as it does well with wind and lack of water.

Rasteau’s wines, as a law, must contain 50% Grenache. Grenache of Rasteau creates structured, aromatic, full bodied wines, that express notes of ripe fruits and spice. Other important varietals grown here include Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Grenache Blanc. A few others are grown in small quantities.

Try it at the girl & the fig!

Domaine du Trapadis, 2014 Les Cras, Rasteau

“Beef stock, rosemary, sweetly spiced black cherry fruit show on the nose. It has a

certain ground force. The palate is pretty big, with a flavour of roast beef and

coffee. It becomes stretched on the finish.”

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