Rasteau in the southern Rhône has been elevated to AOC status - Crus des Côtes du Rhône - appellations body the INAO announced this month
The commune has been promoted from Côtes du Rhône Villages, with the designation backdated to cover the 2009 vintage.
With 75% of vineyards on hillsides rising between 500 and 1000 feet, Rasteau, with its smooth, stone covered clay-limestone terraces, has been long considered a top red Côtes du Rhône Villages wine, an AOC that was granted in 1966.
Rasteau’s application to be elevated to a specific AOC – Crus des Côtes du Rhône – as a dry red wine has taken almost a decade to be approved.
The winegrowers’ syndicate requested it 2002, but experts from a board of inquiry studied the vineyards and excluding some 100 hectares from the current 1300 before granting the status, according to a press release.
’This decision is a natural acknowledgment of the quality of the Rasteau terroir, a point that had to be made clear to consumers, and a definite message to the market,’ said Jean-Jacques Dost, general manager of Ortas Cave de Rasteau, leading producer and marketer of the new AOC Rasteau.
Rasteau now counts as a member of an inner circle of Southern Rhône AOCs, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel, Lirac, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos