Grape varieties:70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
Southern Rhône wines are almost always blended around Grenache to bring balance, complexity and richness of aroma to the wines. Thirteen varietals are permitted. The main varieties are:
Grenache – Medium ruby colour and high alcohol. Delightfully fruity (red fruits) in youth, spice: prune notes with age. Medium dry tannins that soften with age.
Syrah – Deep colour with purple shades. Very tight but velvety tannins giving good ageing potential. Violet and/ or black fruit aromas. With age the aromas evolves towards wild aromas of leather, truffle, and towards liquorice
Mourvèdre – Dark brick red, high tannin brings additional ageing quality to the blend. Sometimes animal notes in its youth become fruity (dark berries, leather, undergrowth, pine, liquorice) and spicy with age.
Cinsault – High proportion in Rosé. Elegant, fruity aromas, light colour and tannin (in reds).
Grenache Blanc – Low acidity giving smoothness and length on the palate with floral aromas and notes of apple and pear.
Clairette – Brings acidity and freshness to the blend. Floral, complex aromas of rose and acacia with notes of white peach and exotic fruit.
Roussanne – Brings finesse and delicacy and a great deal of elegance. Good acidity in the northern Rhône enabling the wine to age well. Complex aromas of honeysuckle with touches of apricot, hawthorn or narcissus.
Bourboulenc – Brings good acidity to the blend. Floral aromas.
Marsanne – Medium acidity, with high aromatic potential in young wines. Complex and subtle floral aromas of acacia, dried fruit and nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut).
Viognier – Medium colour with low acidity and very fruity (pear) in the Southern Rhône. In the Northern Rhône, it brings suppleness and smoothness. Great aromatic potential – acacia, honeysuckle, violet, almond blossom, linden, and with age, musk, honey and dried apricot.
Terroir: Selected parcels of old vines from 50 to 100 years. The very deep roots of the old vines and varied terroir brings great complexity to this wine. Soils are predominantly clay, limestone and stones but vary in content. Parcels are lightly sloping (predominantly south facing) and at varying altitudes.
The vast majority of wines in the Southern Rhône are aged in neutral tanks such as concrete and stainless steel in order to preserve the delightful fruity characteristics of Grenache. Where oak is used, it is often only used for a proportion of the blend. The majority of wines in the Northern Rhône however, are aged in oak.
The amount of oak flavour in the wine depends on:
The following classifications are used for wines listed on this website:
No Oak – The wine is aged in neutral vats or large, old oak barrels that impart no oak flavours. These wines will be fruit-forward and bright in their early years.
Light Oak – Oak flavours are present but do not dominate the wine when young. The wine may only be partly aged in smaller oak barrels and/or the barrels may have been used for one to three prior wines.
Prominent Oak – Oak flavour is a noticeable feature of the wine, particularly when young. Oak also imparts oak tannins into the wine which can increase the ageing potential of the wine, thus allowing the wine to develop complex aromas over many years.
Drinking time: 3 to 15 years
Reviews: WE 94 pts (See below)
The ratings of leading reviewers are listed here with their written comments detailed at the bottom of the page.
Remember that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Each wine reviewer has personal tastes and, as hard as they try, preferences can be reflected in the numerical score a reviewer gives to a wine. This is why is important to read their comments rather than judge a wine by its numerical score.
JR = Jancis Robinson. Score out of 20 points.
RP = Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Score out of 100 points.
JD = Jeb Dunnuck. Score out of 100 points.
WS = Wine Spectator. Score out of 100 points.
W&S = Wine and Sprits. Score out of 100 points.
WE = Wine Enthusiast. Score out of 100 points.
VM = Vinous Media. Score out of 100 points.
JS= James Suckling. Score out of 100 points.
Shipping costs are calculated per box of 6 bottles. Each box can contain a mixed selection of wines.
Wine Enthusiast (WE)
2019 vintage (94 points): Domaine La Soumade devotes its oldest vines from 50-100 years old to this blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Vinified entirely in large-format wood vessels, its black plum and cherry flavors are lusciously concentrated but maintain a zestiness and mineral edge that are thrilling. Full bodied and opulent, it’s a velveteen, solidly structured red that should drink beautifully now to 2030
The Roméro vineyards date back to the early part of the last century. Up until 1979, the grapes were sent to the local cooperative. André Roméro was the first of his family to ferment wine from the family vineyards. Ownership of the domaine is now in the hands of his son, Fredéric who has continued his father’s approach of growing full bodied reds with fine tannins, luscious fruit and great ageing potential, particularly for their top cuvées. The domaine covers 31 ha (76 acres), mostly in the cru of Rasteau with 3 ha of terrace vineyards in Gigondas and some vineyards in Côtes du Rhône classification. The terroir of Rasteau is mostly on south-facing slopes with a little more clay than some other appellations which produces full-bodied wines.
The domaine is focussed on dry reds but also produces a Vin Doux Naturel (fortified) red wine which is wonderful with blue cheese and chocolate. The winemaking emphasises good, but soft extraction and precise temperature control. The reds are fermented in stainless and large wooden vats for the more concentrated juice. The three main Rasteau cuvées are aged in concrete and foudres (large, old oak barrels). The top cuvées are partially aged in used demi-muid (600 litre) oak casks.