A gem that can only be found in Rasteau and Beaumes-de-Venise. Two villages, with a breathtaking view of Mont Ventoux, where it is good to get lost.
To reach the highest cellar in Rasteau, it is advisable to go through the neighbouring village of Roaix and to follow the signs carefully. The Domaine des Escaravailles has been a family business since 1953, now passed down from father to daughter. “This name, formerly of the hamlet, means beetle in Occitan. It was the nickname given by the inhabitants of the village to the Pénitents Noirs of Avignon who owned the estate in 1624. The anecdote is told by the sparkling Gilles Ferran.
A transmission from father to daughter
A wine and terroir enthusiast who knows how to pass on his knowledge, first and foremost to his daughter. At 27 years old, Madeline Ferran proudly lines up the bottles of Vins Doux Naturels on the counter, which has been renovated in line with current tastes.
Here, the lover of this nectar will find something for every colour, red, amber and even white and rosé. To those who say they don’t like sweetness, let yourself be surprised by the balance of this product. “We don’t have many requests for Vin Doux Naturel, which I consider to be a wine for meditation and digestion. It represents barely 2% of our production, yet it remains in our DNA”, confides the winegrower who owns a total of 60 hectares.
For cocktails seen nowhere else
Vin Doux Naturel can also be served at the table with dishes and desserts, for an original food and wine pairing.
When tasted, the red wine will take your palate to juicy red fruit aromas, such as cherry, but also to cocoa. The amber will have notes of dried fruit, such as walnut, as well as complexity, with curry or bitter orange.
Special mention for the TPMG cuvée, which means “everything for my mouth”. “It’s well known that every winemaker has his own barrel. Some visitors have tasted it and pushed me to develop it.
Surprisingly, the white is so powerful in taste (pear, lychee, dried flowers) that one would even forget the sugar. In cocktails, with sparkling water or tonic, it is the perfect ingredient to break the codes.
Although the appellation was awarded a long time ago, in 1944, the Vin Doux Naturel de Rasteau “is a thousand years old”, according to the estate manager. Timeless, perhaps because of its meticulous criteria. “We work with old vines, perfectly healthy harvests, careful sorting and grape varieties that naturally reach more than 15 degrees. A requirement to be found in the bottle.
We give you the recipe
The manufacturing method is well kept. Madeline Ferran reveals the recipe. “At the very end of the harvest, we select a very ripe grape, with no rot. We press and recover the juice directly, there is no maceration. The liquid will reveal a pink colour. Fermentation can begin and, at a certain point, “we add a wine alcohol, a neutral grape alcohol to kill the yeasts and stop the fermentation”. With the sugar naturally present in the grape, the wine is stabilised. The wine is matured for a minimum of 30 months to obtain its amber colour and to meet the specifications of the appellation. Taste ? It will be slightly stronger than a dry wine. The balance is found at 90 grams of sugar per litre and 16.5 degrees of alcohol.