AOP Rasteau



Vines have probably been growing in Rasteau for 2000 years.
The oldest known source is from 1414, and here is listed 30 ha with a yield of 6 hl/ha. 
The first declaration is from 1817 (premières déclarations de récoltes). Here is listed 360 hl. from 60 ha. 
The production rose rapidly until the vine pest (Phylloxéra) arrived in 1870. It was not until 1905 that the production was at a level like before 1870.   
In 1925 60 vinegrowers and merchants founded the cooperative.
In 1935 the co-operative started to experiment with a sweet wine, and took the initiative to the new appellation Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau.

1937: Wines may be named Cotes du Rhone.
1944: Vin doux Naturel Rasteau gets its own appellation.
1966: Wines from Rasteau may be called Cotes du Rhone Village Rasteau.
2002: Request for the rank CRU is sent to INAO.
2010: Rasteau

Rules for AOP Rasteau & Vins doux Naturel Rasteau
Cahier des Charges (2011)
Rules for Rasteau and Vin Duox Naturel are described in this Cahier des Charges.

The appellation Rasteau includes only red wines. Producers who before 2010 have made rosé or white wines with the name Cotes du Rhone Village Rasteau must in the future name such wines Cotes du Rhone. The names can also be used for red wines from parcels inside the Rasteau appellation if the producer wants that (young wines or pour vintage).

AOC / AOP Rasteau may be made from approved parcels in Rasteau commune.

The total area of the commune is 1881 ha (18,81 km2), of which around 1200 ha. is planted with vines.
The altitude of the commune differs from 117 to 336 metres

The allowed grape varieties are divided in 3 levels of importance: cépage principal, cépages complémentaires og cépages accessoires 
(When you talk about an percentage of varieties, this percentage refers to the planted varities in all the vineyards of a property - not the percentage of the varieties in the different wines.)

Cépage principal: Grenache must count for at least 50%.

Cépages complémentaires: Syrah and Mourvedre
must together count for at least 20% and max. 50%.

Cépages accessoires: are grapes alllowed for AOC Cotes du Rhone, including also white varieties, which must not exceed max. 5%. Cépages accessoires may totally
may not exceed 15% and includes the following varieties:  Bourboulenc, Carignan, Clairette (Blanc and Rose), Counoise, Grenache (Blanc and Gris), Marsanne, Muscardin, Piquepoul (Blanc and Noir), Roussanne, Terret Noir, Ugni Blanc, Vaccarese and Viognier.

Rule for blend of the single cuvée (Assemblage)
The blend must include at least 50% Grenache (Cépage principal)
and 20-50% of Syrah and Mourvedre (Cépages complémentaires)

The level of alcohol must be at least 12,5% 
The yield may not exceed 38 hl./ha.

Declared area and yield 2016-2020

Vintage 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Hectares 949 941 953 951 940
Hectoliter 33494 27498 28746 32299 32311
AOP Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau  

The first experiments with the production of dessert wine in Rasteau were made at the cooperative in 1934.
In 1944 an independent appellation for Vin Doux Naturel was formed
. The production area was limited to vineyards  in Rasteau, Cairanne and Sablet. 
In the latter two
communes only few hectares adjacent to Rasteau.

As with other appellations, the
vineyards inside the appellation are carefully listed on the map. The total area from which this dessert wine may be produced is a total of only approx. 40 ha.
About 20 wine growers produce this type of wine.
At harvest, the grapes must contain at least 252 g of sugar, corresponding to a potential alcoholic content of 15.
The fermentation of the must is stopped by the addition of grape juice (min. 96%). The finished wine must contain at least 45 g of residual sugar
pr liter and the alcohol percentage should be 15-21.5. The norm is about 16%.
is method is called "mutage".

At least 90% of the grapes used must be Grenache - Noir, Gris (Rose) or Blanc.
The other maximum 10%
might be grapes allowed for the AOC Cotes du Rhone. In practice the wine is usually made on 100% Grenache Noir

Basic yield may
not exceed 30 hl/ha. Normally the yield is somewhat lower.

The term Rancio can be stated on the label, and the character of the wine will correspond to what you normally understand by Madeira, Tawny Port or Marsala.

's allowed but rarely used to call the Hors d'âge wine if it's first marketed 5 years after the harvest.

Declared area and yield 2016-2020

Vintage 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Hectares 22 11 6 15 6
Hectolitre 638 208 162 391 142

Click for bigger image

Click for bigger image

The Grenache grape appears in three coulors. Experts say that the Rose (or Gris) and the "Blanc" are mutations of the Noir.
Most wines of VDN Rasteau are dark in coulor and called Rouge or Grenat but some are lighter in colour depending of the grapes used and of maceration periode. 
If the coulor is not either red nore light it's often called Rose or Ambre. A very light wine is called Blanc or Doré (golden).



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Update 13-05-2021