Some of the best value red wines coming out of France come from the Southern Rhône. The quality has improved enormously in the past 20 years, and these village wines offer the best value of all, in terms of quality/price. It is here that one finds wines on a par with the best from Châteauneuf-du-pape but at a fraction of the price.
The vineyard has been in the family since 1920, and Robert Charavin took over from his father in 1976. There are 10 hectares in Rasteau, and another 4 hectares in the adjacent village of Cairanne. We have been visiting the vineyard since 1982, and have shipped their wines regularly since the 1988 vintage. The wines are delicious young, but age extremely well. We recently opened and enjoyed a bottle of the 1989!
In the hierarchy of the Appellation system the Cairanne and Rasteau wines have now been awarded their own appellation (AOP) in recognition of their sustained higher level of quality.
Robert has continued to make great strides avoiding chemicals, fertilisers and artificial additives whenever possible, and as a result he was officially registered as “Bio” (organic) since 2010. However, from this year he is now fully registered as “Biodynamique” – a wine process that relies on the moon and stars as much as it does on natural remedies for the vineyard!
The big change since we last bought Robert’s excellent 2010 vintage is that the two Rasteau cuvées – Réserve and Prestige – no longer exist. They have been replaced by Les Travès and La Mondona. And, the Cairanne vineyard is no longer designated a Côtes de Rhône Villages, as it has now been awarded its own appellation.
The 2015 and 2016 vintages have been acclaimed as two of the best vintages since 2010.
We are offering a Mixed Case of four bottles of each of these three wines :
Domaine des Côteaux des Travers Char à Vin 2016
AOP Côtes du Rhône
This deep coloured wine is made from 40% Grenache, 40% Carignan and 20% Syrah. It has a lovely, fresh, mouthwatering nose redolent of violets and it is packed with juicy, soft black and red cherry fruit.
I can’t think of a more gluggable, delicious Côtes du Rhône to enjoy, either on its own or with pasta or meat dishes. Delicious now!
Domaine des Côteaux des Travers, Les Travès 2016
Robert’s new cuvée, Les Travès is made from 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. It is a deep purple wine with a lovely succulent nose of raspberry fruit and wild herbs from the garrigue. In the mouth it is very silky, elegant and full of black berry fruits, followed by flavours of marzipan, juniper and chocolate. It finishes with soft tannins and great length.
Domaine des Côteaux des Travers, La Terra Rosea 2015
The soil from Cairanne vineyard is much redder, having a greater iron content. The wine is deeply coloured, made from 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah. The nose is bursting with aromas of violets and wild herbs. It is richer than the first two wines, more structured, bursting with flavours of figs, damsons and crushed blackberries, supported by soft, ripe tannins. It is surprisingly elegant for all its power, and finishes with the flavour of the stony terroir of the Cairanne slopes. Drink now and over the next two years.