So tonight I am trying something new, the 2011 Domaine la Soumade Rasteau from the Southern Rhone region of France. Now before today I really wasn't familiar with Rasteau and the likely reason was that this appellation was formerly known for sweet, fortified wines, the so-called "vin doux naturel." But beginning with the 2009 vintage, they began including a dry red blend into Rasteau that is typically the classic southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The wine I am enjoying tonight is just such a blend of Grenache (70%), Syrah (20%) and Mourvedre (10%).
The wine is a lovely deep ruby in the glass with nice clarity. The nose was at first a burst of sweet ripe fruit, blackberries, plums, raisins but as it's opened up the nose has transitioned to some earthy notes of leather, forest floor and oak. The taste is not at all what I expected, a burst of tart cherry, dark chocolate and tobacco greeted me, but soon it transitioned to some earthy limestone notes layered with dried herbs. The tannins are very nicely structured supporting the smooth, dry, velvety finish that beckons you to take another sip.
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's drinking very nicely now, but will likely improve over the next couple of years. It was also a nice value as I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for just $20! Tonight I am just enjoying this one on the deck watching the sunset as I've worn myself out from cleaning chores today, but it would pair very nicely with any Mediterranean dishes, I'm thinking some nice mussels with linguine or perhaps a nicely prepared branzino grilled with lemon and rosemary as the fruit of the wine would make a nice foil to the savoriness of those dishes. Cin cin!