Rasteau’s elevation to cru status in 2010, solely for its highly regarded dry red wines was widely welcomed. Domaine la Font de Notre Dame, a charming small domaine owned by brothers Frédéric and Boris Roux, produce a traditionally made Rasteau with typical appellation complexity.
Just east of Cairanne, Rasteau’s mainly south facing vineyards enjoy over 2,800 sunshine hours a year, and are relatively sheltered from the cold Mistral wind, allowing its vines to reap the full benefits of the warm, dry Mediterranean climate and making it home to the most intense and spiciest reds in the southern Rhône.
Rasteau is also noted the for variation in clay / limestone soil types found as the vineyards slope up from the river Ouvèze (at just 100m above sea level), contributing to the complexity of the appellation’s wines. The Roux brother’s Rasteau vineyards are near the top of the hill, at an altitude of 350m, and made up of brown chalk / clay marl and heat retaining pebbles, which protect the vines from night-time variations in temperature.
Seventy year-old Grenache forms the backbone of the blend, with Syrah, Mourvèdre and a hint of Cinsault added. Fermentation is in traditional 20hl concrete vats (the winery houses 8 in total) and the wine spends 12 months maturing in French oak before release. The small fountain still standing at the heart of this charming Domaine - once a place of pilgrimage for the Provençale people in the Middle Ages, who believed its waters could protect them from the Black Death - is illustrated on the label.
This is a rich and complex wine; the palate is brimming with ripe red summer fruits from Grenache, while Syrah brings a touch of peppery spice and Mourvèdre a savoury herbal twist.
Great with slow-cooked lamb or pork, or pair with a hearty pie - traditional steak and kidney, or perhaps a spicy lentil and spinach version.