Rasteau's vins doux naturels defy convention. Made from Grenache noir planted in stony, exposed, south-facing ground, they are the product of 50-80 year old vines that preserve their vitality by providing less than a single bottle per stock... harvested by hand, alcohol is added to the fermenting musts to produce two different styles of fortified wine.
The result of rosé winemaking (using the saignée method), Rasteau wine has a fine amber colour and exudes aromas of nuts, apricot, and honey. Full-bodied, smooth, and balanced, the wine may be aged for up to eight years.
Red Rasteau is made using grapes that have been pressed and macerated in a vat. It contains aromas of stewed prunes and warm spices and, as it ages, develops a "rancio", or maderized, flavour. The wine may be aged for up to ten years, developing nutty, roasted aromas.
Without a doubt, wines this rare, so incredibly rich in aromas, and so well made, deserve their reputation...
Rasteau vin doux naturel is available in three colours: red, white, and rosé. The "ageless" vintages are known as "Rancio".
Planting is reserved for Grenache noir, which must make up at least 90% of the vineyard. Other varieties of grapes are chosen from amongst those authorized in Côtes du Rhône.
The production regulations are in line with legislation for other fortified wines. Mutage is compulsory and the alcohol must be at least 96% proof, and constitute between 5% and 10% of the wine. The minimum alcohol content (actual alcohol and potential alcohol) must be 21.5% by volume, with at least 15% by volume actual content.
The must's minimum natural sugar content must be at least 252g/L.
The south-facing hillsides of Rasteau are ideal for the overmaturation of grapes, making standard winemaking problematic.
In 1934, the area's winemakers made the first vin doux naturel (fortified wine), with positive results. During this period, the area was divided between vineyards, orchards, and olive groves.
In 1944, Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel was officially awarded AOC status, and, in 2010, Rasteau's still red wine followed suit.
1944Birth of AOC Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau
The vineyard extends across Rasteau (mainly), Cairanne, and Sablet, and is planted in just over 20 plots.
The climate has a Mediterranean influence, and the hillsides are south-facing and receive some protection from the Mistral.
Similar to the soils of Rasteau: the terroir contains brown limestone soils, thin soil atop marl, and red soils on sandstone. The predominantly south-facing hillsides, and the heat stored during the day and radiated at night, mean that the grapes are can reach full maturity.
surface area22 hectares
Total production638 hl
- 63% Red
- 2% White
- 35% rosé
Average yield achieved29 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016