2015 RASTEAU, Les Côteaux, Domaine Escaravailles. Rhône
Alcohol Percentage: 14.5%
Area: Rasteau is a village a little north east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It has been allowed to use its own name on the label since 1996. Prior to that the wines were simply Côtes du Rhône Villages. From 2010 the label can simply say Rasteau, without any mention of CDRV - an apparent promotion, but not helpful for marketing on the international stage. (The other confusion is that the region was historically better known for its fortified wines - and many French consumers will always think of Rasteau as a sweet, rather alcoholic red to be drunk as an aperitif or digestif.)
Some might also argue that there are too many named villages in the area, but Rasteau certainly deserves its place. The wines are gutsy but often show good balance and freshness.
Grape Variety: 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah; all kept in steel tank for 9 months. No oak - the accent is on freshness.
Producer: An estate of just over 50 hectares. The name is local dialect for beetle - which feature on all the labels. Run by the same family since 1953, the current boss is Gilles Férran. They are also excellent hosts, if you happen to be visiting the southern Rhône.
Old Bridge Rating: Broad and spicy but plenty of freshness too. Already at its best.
£15.95 per bottle
£15.15 per bottle in a mixed case of 6 bottles
£14.36 per bottle in a mixed case of 12 bottles