Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rasteau and Domaine la Soumade

As you know, our house is in Sablet, a pretty village built on top of a mound at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Surrounded by vineyards, we are a short distance from well known wine producing villages such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Tavel and Beaumes de Venise.

One of the villages we see across the vineyards to the northwest is Rasteau, a small village of wine-makers built on a hill 200 meters high or about 650 feet. Houses and wineries spread out across the flank of the hill at the foot of the 12th century Romanesque church of St Didier. There are about 750 people who reside in Rasteau; people who live in Rasteau are called Rastellains.

Here are a few pictures from Rasteau. This memorial to the children of Rasteau who died in wars for France is located in the center of the colorful Place de l'Apparent, the main square in Rasteau around which life in the village revolves.

The pretty l'Apparent Fountain in the same square, one of four fountains in the village.

The clock tower topped by the campanile.

The 12th century Romanesque church of St Didier.

A statue near the church.

Rasteau is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wine in the southern Rhône wine region. The AOC designation applies to both the sweet fortified wines (Vin Doux Naturel) which can be red, rosé or white and since 2010, effective with the 2009 vintage, the unfortified red wines produced in Rasteau.

The Rasteau AOC covers mostly the commune of Rasteau but also includes some vineyards within the communes of Cairanne and Sablet. The primary grapes in the Rasteau AOC are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

We didn't know anything about Rasteau wines until this past summer when we kept seeing 2007 Domaine la Soumade Rasteau on wine lists in the area. We ordered bottles of this wine several times and really liked it so we decided to go visit the Domaine and déguster - taste their wines.

Domaine la Soumade is owned by André Roméro and has been owned by the Roméro family for more than 200 years. Son Frédéric Roméro is learning and will take over from his father when he retires.

Domaine la Soumade owns 28 hectares or about 69 acres of vineyards. A new wine making facility and tasting room were built a few years ago just off the D-975 on the road from Cairanne to Rasteau.

Part of the tasting room with a display of empty bottles of wine from different parts of the world.

The Domaine la Soumade wine making facility.

Wife Shirley at the entrance to the Domaine la Soumade facility.

The view from the terrace at Domaine la Soumade across the wide expanse of vineyards towards Sablet.

Rasteau is now part of an elite group of Southern Rhône AOC's. So if you are like me and don't know anything about this new AOC, I recommend you go try the wines. At the present time, Domaine la Soumade is among the best and well worth a visit. If you see the wine on a wine list, don't hesitate to choose this wine.

Bonne journée mes amis et à très bientôt.


  1. Rasteau is delicious! And the village does look well worth the visit, I really need to get out and about soon. So many vineyards... so little time :-)

  2. We have several bottle of Rasteau in our cave. Or should I say had :)

  3. Next time we come, we'll definitely visit this domaine - preferably with you and Shirley!

  4. Sara - How true about vineyards and time...we have not even put a dent into the vineyards we want to taste.

    Meredith - I will have to stock up next time we get to Rasteau as we put a good dent into the box we bought on our visit.

    Claudia - I would love to visit with you. Let's make it happen.

  5. Very nice post - had never heard of Rasteau before but looks like quite a pretty village and a great wine. Another fun destination to add to my list for your neck of Provence. Can't wait to get out that way & explore, thanks :)

  6. I've enjoyed the Rasteau wines I've had, and it's always fun to connect the wine with a place. Thanks for the pictures of this cute hillside town!

  7. I have never heard of Rasteau so I guess I will have to try the 2007. The village is just lovely. I adore all the wonderful colors of the village houses. Provence has just wonderful little places to visit. It never gets old.

  8. Camille - You are right about connecting wine to place. Wine is very affected by terroir and environment and I really like to see where wines I enjoy come fron.

    Ashley - You won't be sorry you tried the 2007 or any of the red wines from Rasteau. They are great...and affordable.