In a nutshell: A rich, smooth Southern Rhone red from the village of Rasteau.
The lowdown: Domaine la Soumade's André Roméro is a great winemaker (described as the superstar of Rasteau by wine critic Robert Parker), add the expertise of renowned consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt and some top quality vineyard sites and you have a recipe for success. This Grenache dominated entry level village Rasteau delivers in leaps and bounds. The vines are only treated, natural fertiliser added, when absolutely necessary and the grapes are hand picked and then hand sorted so only the best make it through. The wine matures in concrete for a year and then in a range of oak barrels for six months before being lightly filtered.
The nose is intoxicating with perfumed aromas of sweet red and brambly fruits leading onto a full, rich, silky palate with hints of methanol and a nice spicy kick. There is a lovely freshness to the wine, it is balanced and the length is long.
When to drink: Try with chicken dishes or will work well with light to mild spiced curries.
André Roméro, who founded Domaine La Soumade in 1979, is a characterful and talented grower was joined by his son Frédéric in 1996 on completion of his oenology studies. 2002 saw the completion of their new winery and coincided with them starting to work the esteemed Bordeaux consultant Stéphane Derenencourt following which their wines seemed to take a step up in quality and become truer expressions of their terroir. Today the estate covers 26 hectares, including a new plot of 2.5 hectares of the finest land in Rasteau and a small parcel of vines in neighbouring Gigondas. With André approaching retirement the estate is now mainly run by the capable hands of Frédéric who seems set to continue with the high standards that has won them so many admirers.