After Cairanne and Lirac, we continue to wander under the sun of the superb valley’s Southern crus. This time, Rasteau comes out of the shadow.
Like Cairanne and Roaix, its neighbouring communes, Rasteau, a beautiful village in the Haut-Vaucluse located thirty minutes from Orange, is a stopover on the road that links Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes to the west and Vaison-la-Romaine to the east. Between the valleys of the Aigues and the Ouvèze, the vineyard is based, like its neighbours, on a hillside relief which delimits its appellation area to the north. Most of the vineyards are planted on the slopes of the Ventabren mountain, a rounded mass of red clay dotted with rolled pebbles and limestone debris. Above this area, the wooded plateau constitutes a biodiversity sanctuary that the Rastellains have wisely protected. In this area, scattered islands of vines emerge in the middle of the Provençal flora – wonderful postcard images. The white wine lover will be attentive to the plots of old Clairettes often invisible from the road that winds up to the heights. At the same altitude as the village, about 200 metres, the vineyard is set on a varied geology and sheltered from the violence of the Mistral by the presence of hedges, slopes and undergrowth. A little clay gives the soil good water retention capacity, useful in dry vintages. Following the gentle slope towards the south, the vines eventually merge with those of the Plan-de-Dieu plain. Irrigation is authorised everywhere in the appellation. It is often impossible to set up in the best sectors because of the lack of infrastructure and access to water, reservoirs or rivers.