Skip to main content

Rasteau in Decanter

The March issue of Decanter has just landed (I will never understand why the March issue has to arrive on 1st February - don't bother trying to explain it to me; I will simply glaze over) with an, as always, excellent article by JLL, this time all about Rasteau, one of my favourite villages (in terms of the wines, at least).

Rasteau's promotion to cru status in 2010 did not surprise me (unlike the promotion of Beaumes-de-Venise a few years earlier) as the wines have become increasingly good in recent years. The chances of this were always good, given that, after Chateauneuf-du-Pape it is the hottest commune in the valley. More important is the rise of a number of high quality estates within the AOC.

I have been working with Robert Charavin, the president of the syndicate and owner of Domaine des Coteaux des Travers, since I started BRW. In the old days, Robert made rustic, classic wines but in recent years, he has taken greater advantage of the position of his vineyards which are earlier ripening to make more luscious wines. His 2009 Prestige is a tour de force and marks the start of Robert's formal conversion to bio, organic viticulture.

Just outside the village is Domaine Bressy-Masson, another estate with long roots. Marie-France Masson took over from her father, Emile Bressy, some years back and is starting to pass the baton on to her son, Paul-Emile (after whom one of the prestige wines is named). The wines here are sometimes described as Burgundian in texture - if this means smooth, rich, unctuous etc than I have to agree. Fully flavoured, they are classic Rhone wines though, made in a modern style. In 2009, their Cotes du Rhone was remarkably impressive and has become one of our most popular wines with those in the know (I can state this now - stocks are almost depleted so the regulars can't get too upset!).

Regular readers of my blog will know that I like to celebrate a good review with a bottle of appropriate wine - but which one of these two estates will it be? Choices, choices!


Popular posts from this blog

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region. If you look on today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was  Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc , awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list: 'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmist

Postcard from Provence

With lockdown more or less over, we made a dash to the other side of the Channel and are currently languishing in the Vaucluse  d épartement , home to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape  et al . Mont Ventoux, known to cyclists the world over, is staring at me as I write, only providing a shield from the sun in the early hours of the morning before the heat hits. Exercise here, recently so highly prized (the French were allowed no further than 1 km from home to exercise during their lockdown), is necessarily limited to a gentle morning stroll around the village to collect bread from the  boulang ère.  In time it may be possible to acclimatise but, looking at the locals, I wouldn’t bet on it. France went into lockdown before us, of course, and came out earlier as well so, if we in the UK are fortunate, what I am seeing is a glimpse into the future. We are welcome here – I know plenty of people with concerns about this but it is the Parisians they fear most here it seems. The UK, until

Watching and drinking Perseides concurrently.

Being British, I am obliged to comment on the Provencal weather this summer. Mostly hot with the occasional Mistral wind and, a few weeks ago, a threatened storm which yielded some highly unusual clouds, identified by a friend’s meteorologically talented daughter (moments before o ne of my own clever clogs) as being of the mammatus variety, these being, in effect, upside down clouds which, said expert explained occur when   the cold, moist poc kets of air sink rather than rise. Pic included of clouds over neighbouring property (would you believe me if I said it was sunny over us? No?).   What I ca n ’t give you a picture of bec ause (a) it hasn’t properly occurred this year yet (a brief flirtatio n last night but that’s all so far) and (b) my technological wizardry has yet to master how to tak e a still image of a (literally) flying circus, is tonight’s extravaganza of shooting stars, known as   Per séide s . (Some of you will, by now, have figured where this is going.) The useful peop