Wine: AOC Rasteau – Say Cheese!


Our wine page this month says: ‘Blessed are the cheese mongers’

Nestled in the hillsides, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by vineyards, the little village of Rasteau boasts a host of natural treasures and a unique historical heritage, with many relics of the past still surviving today. The appellation is best known for its red wines and sweet, fortified Vins Doux Naturels; these are generous, complex wines reflecting the colours of their terroir, wines with character, created with flair and passion.

Real wines made by real people, mirroring the depth and sincerity of the vigneron spirit. Wines with body and soul. Cheesemongers propose a successful pairing with the Rasteau wines, the ideal combination for a festive evening or a cosy wintery dinner with friends. Rasteau is a genuine ‘village-vigneron’. The village holds a very rich wine history, dating back to 70 AD.

The terroir: Mistral – An iconic Mediterranean wind, blowing away impurities and protecting the vineyards from their natural enemies. Amphitheatre – The vineyards are planted in a natural amphitheatre shape, protecting them from the potentially destructive Mistral wind. Spurs – In the north, the landscape features gentle hills and valleys, forming spurs rather like the tines of a rake. Colours – Red, yellow and blue…

The Rasteau terroir comprises many different types of clay, making it rich and colourful. Light – Rasteau’s mild, sunny winters bathe the vines in exquisite light, their colours sparkling in the sunshine. A gift for body and soul! Mosaic – The terroir comprises three strata of different soil types: clay, stones and pebbles, and sandy marl with safre.

Rasteau inspires our cheesemongers: All these values also inspired the work of two of our local cheesemongers: La Fromagerie des Vennes in Liège and Edgar Kaasbar in Ghent, where during an event in collaboration with two personalities from the Belgian wine scene (Marc Vanhellemont in Liège and Kristel Balcaen in Ghent) a selection of their cheeses were paired with different wines of both AOCs. 

For Marc Vanhellemont a successful pairing between Rasteau wines and cheeses “needs acidity, but not too much, to surmount the lactic barrier, and afterwards a fuller body to be able to exchange with the cheese.” Sébastien from La Fromagerie des Vennes says: “At a dinner party with friends, choosing the right wine to accompany the cheese platter is crucial.”

More on Leisure