Sunshine, stony soils and the mistral have made a grand range of wines from the RHONE VALLEY, where GRENACHE has its roots.
A couple of leagues from Vaison-la-Romaine, on the Route des Princes d'Orange, is the village of Rasteau, a place that is wonderfully conducive to the vine. It was brought here by the Romans, who built this splendid village on top of a hill with a unique panoramic view over the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Mont Ventoux.
The smooth pebble soils here yield a voluptuous wine; heated by the burning daytime sun, at night they restore their warmth for the benefit of the grapes and give the wines of Rasteau a special personality which sets them apart from all the other Côtes du Rhône.
A terroir of smooth pebbles
The parish of Rasteau covers an area of 1880ha, 1240ha of it planted with vines which produce the following Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée wines:
A.O.C. Côtes du Rhône red, rosé and white
A.O.C. Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel, the wine that Rasteau is famous for
GRENACHE NOIR is a vigorous variety, which has good resistance to wind and drought. It is perfectly suited to the Rasteau terroir with its exposed, dry and rather infertile hillsides. When it is the product of old vines, it yields structured, aromatic wines with a high alcohol potential. It gives body and fullness to blends.
SYRAH is the most recent variety to be planted at Rasteau. Its long canes make it sensitive to the wind, so it needs to be trellised. As it cannot stand too much drought, it is planted on deep clayey limestone soils with good reserves of water. In these conditions, it produces fine, complex wines that are richly coloured and highly aromatic.
MOURVÈDRE, the Bandol variety, is the most demanding from a cultivation point of view. A late ripener, it needs a warm terroir that is deep enough to feed it with a small but regular amount of water. At Rasteau, it is only planted where the exposure is best. This helps it produce highly aromatic, well-structured tannic wines. It gives potency and ageing potential to blends.
CARIGNAN, which demands warmth and is resistant to wind and drought, is also well suited to the warm and dry Rasteau terroir. It is grown in poor soils and yields structured wines with a beautiful colour and good ageing qualities.
CINSAULT gives elegant fruity wines. It is especially suited for bled rosés. It will mitigate the alcoholic richness of Grenache in a blend.
GRENACHE BLANC expresses itself to the full in the Rasteau terroir, where it gives body and fullness to blends.
CLAIRETTE is expressive of white fruit and flowers. It gives freshness and liveliness.
BOURBOULENC, a late ripener, has structure and ageing potential.
Philosophy of production
* Our AOC Rasteau wines are only red
* 90% of the vineyard is harvested by hand
* The grapes are destemmed to avoid harsh tannic character
* The wind is a good partner against diseases. We limit treatments
* For every wines, we use a low quantity of sulphur. We want to reduce this one even more
* As a precaution we don’t use any other allergen
* We aim to express the natural aromas of our terroir and grapes and therefore we hardly, if any, use oak ageing
* Cave de Rasteau is working on a certification program to obtain the French label "Agriculture Raisonnée" for all the vineyard