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2016 Domaine des Escaravailles La Ponce Rasteau
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- Cellar Drink Now - 10 years (2018-2028)
- ABV 15.5%
- Closure: Cork
Rasteau's 880 hectares of vines are planted on marl and red and yellow clay soils over sandstone with rounded stones covering some sectors, which in heatwave vintages act like health insurance against hydric stress. By law, the Grenache component in the dry red blends must be 50% minimum, with Syrah and/or Mourvedre 20% minimum and other grape varieties of the appellation tolerated up to 20%. In 2010 the Rasteau AOC was created allowing the wines to be named after the village, dropping the Cotes-du-Rhone tag and joining the likes of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas at the pinnacle of the wine hierarchy in the Southern Rhone.
Part of the success of Domaines Des Escaravailles is due to the input of French oenologist, Philippe Cambie. As well as acting as a consultant winemaker for other Southern Rhone estates like Domaine Grand Nicolet, Cambie also consults to many of the top wines in Chateauneuf du Pape, including Pegau and Vieux Donjon.
A blockbuster Rasteau from the Spectacular 2016 vintage
Totally opaque black dark red core with a bright dark red hue. Intense ripe black cherry and liquorice scents marry into black raspberry and scorched earth elements with dried meats and lots of pepper and spice also present. Exploding across the palate are rich, full bodied black raspberry, ripe black cherry and liquorice flavours all infused with blackpepper. Sitting underneath are complexing nuances of dried meats, scorched earth and spice. Opulent and inviting yet slightly grippy with ripe chewy tannins providing good definition. Beautifully balanced with magnificent power and a long driving finish of blackpepper, black cherries, black raspberries, liquorice, smoky earth and spicy dried meats. Going by the 2007 Domaine des Escaravailles La Ponce Rasteau (another great vintage) which is still going strong, the 2016 vintage should comfortably cellar for up to 10 years…. If you can keep your hands off it for that long…
Date Tasted: 15/11/2018
One of the finest wines to date from this estate as well as from the appellation, the 2016 Rasteau La Ponce shows the exuberance and depth of the vintage, yet also has thrilling purity of fruit and perfect balance. Revealing a deep purple color as well as classic notes of blackberries, crushed rocks, graphite, and violets, it offers a full-bodied, ultra-pure, polished style on the palate that gains depth, richness and length with time in the glass. It’s a great, great Rasteau that readers should snatch up.
My favorite of the scarab beetle wines (that's the translation of Escaravailles) was the 2016 Rasteau la Ponce, a blend of Grenache (aged in concrete) and Syrah (aged in wood). Dried spices, cherries, and blueberries swirl together in outrageous harmony in this full-bodied, creamy-textured beauty that doesn't lack for richness or vibrancy. It should drink well for at least another 5-7 years. Drink 2018-2025.
Joe Czerwinski – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate