2016 Domaine des Escaravailles "La Ponce" Rasteau

SKU #1382357 95 points Jeb Dunnuck

 One of the finest wines to date from this estate as well as from the appellation, the 2016 Rasteau La Ponce shows the exuberance and depth of the vintage, yet also has thrilling purity of fruit and perfect balance. Revealing a deep purple color as well as classic notes of blackberries, crushed rocks, graphite, and violets, it offers a full-bodied, ultra-pure, polished style on the palate that gains depth, richness and length with time in the glass. It’s a great, great Rasteau that readers should snatch up. This Rasteau-based estate is run by Gilles Ferran and is one of my go-to estates when looking for terrific wines that over-deliver.  (8/2018)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 My favorite of the scarab beetle wines (that's the translation of Escaravailles) was the 2016 Rasteau la Ponce, a blend of Grenache (aged in concrete) and Syrah (aged in wood). Dried spices, cherries, and blueberries swirl together in outrageous harmony in this full-bodied, creamy-textured beauty that doesn't lack for richness or vibrancy. It should drink well for at least another 5-7 years. (JC) 93+  (10/2018)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 Savory notes of dried thyme and sage accent crisp blackberry in this elegant Grenache-Syrah blend. It's freshly composed on the mid palate with very firm but chalky, grippy tannins on the finish. It should improve through 2026. (AI)  (3/2019)

K&L Notes

The domaine of Escaravailles was founded in 1953 by Jean-Louis Ferran and his sons Daniel and Jean-Pierre. It takes its name from the Occitan dialect of escaravay - which means scarab beetle - the local nickname for the peoples of the village of Rasteau in 1623. Currently run by Gilles Ferran, son of Daniel, the vineyards run primarily through Rasteau and extend into Cairanne, Roaix and Saint Roman de Malegarde. The vineyards are farmed using sustainable and organic practices and all grapes are manually harvested. Phillippe Cambie, one of the great winemakers of the Rhone, consults on the winemaking. La Ponce is made up of 80% Grenache Noir and 20% Syrah from the steepest clay and stony hillsides.

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Price: $24.99

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By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/12/2019 | Send Email
One whiff and this wine clamors for your attention-- and deservedly so. Tapenade, pepper, and wild berry fruit tumble forth, with that fruit taking the lead onto the palate with a wonderful silky texture. Graphite and earth on the close, with some herbal qualities (sweet anise) that linger through the finish. Fantastically well-balanced for a sub $30 red!

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/8/2019 | Send Email
I first learned about this winery many years ago from a client of mine. He had the wine recommended to him by the sommelier at a well respected restaurant. I ordered a case for my client and he gave me a bottle to try. Considering that the market was saturated with southern Rhone wines, I could not initially understand why we needed another. However, once I tried the wine I immediately understood why this wine was such a stand out. With the steady hand of winemaker Philippe Cambie overseeing the process, Escaravailles produces distinctively delicious southern Rhone blends. This Grenache / Syrah combo offers up beautiful red fruits intermingled with hints of dark chocolate, licorice and spice. The wine possesses real power and will benefit from either a few winters in the cellar or an hour long wake in the decanter. This wine is sure to please either in its youth or with some age.

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/8/2019 | Send Email
Years ago, the distinctive scarab beetle on the label of the Escaravailles was a mark of great cost-to-quality when I was shopping for my Rhone wines. It has been some time since we've seen it broadly in the market, as it bounced around through a few different importers though, but what a joy to have it return in the form of one of their best wines to date. The domaine is based in Rasteau which is quickly emerging as a region to watch. The gravelly and limestone soils mimic some of the best sub-regions Chateauneuf has to offer but at a well-reduced price. Add consulting winemaker extraordinaire Phillippe Cambie and you have a dead ringer for Clos Saint Jean or Clos des Papes, again at a fraction of the price. Rich and borderline hedonistic, this wine smacks of boysenberries and melted licorice. Savory spice notes intermingle with flavors of hoisin sauce and cardamom. It is opulent. But in the best way imaginable. This is a fully realized fleshy red from this up and coming region and one of its top producers!

Additional Information:


Rhone Blends



- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market.
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