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Rangiroa wine: Tahiti, passion and fantasy taken to their extreme


World Tahiti

Rangiroa wine
Tahiti, passion and fantasy taken to their extreme

Rangiroa is a paradisal atoll in French Polynesia which attracts tourists from all over the world who love sun, beaches and scuba-diving. Since 2000, it also the setting of a fantasy, a Bacchic folly, as a consequence of Dominique Auroy’s boundless passion for winegrowing.

Dominque Auroy had been trying to establish a vineyard since 1992 and it is only since 2000 that he has succeeded in producing his first wine, using the one grape variety that has managed to grow here, despite enormous and often incredible difficulties. Having tested fifty or so grape varieties, Carignan was eventually selected (Italia and Muscat of Hamburg are also being tested).

It is a small domain that covers 12 hectares and is situated upon chalky, limestone soil, comprised of fragments of white coral, enriched with vegetal compost, to which fresh water must be added during periods of drought. Rainwater is lighter than salt water and it thus floats above the salty sea. A pumping system retrieves this fresh water, which also provides the vines with a consistent supply of iron.

There are two harvests per year in Rangiroa: one during the southern hemisphere’s winter season and one during its summer season.

White, red and rosé wines are produced here.

The wine is quite unusual and offers both originality and character. The first surprise is that the wine has an excellent structure of freshness. This is due to its natural acidity, but also to the plentiful amount of sunshine, but with less daylight hours due to the latitude of the location. The vines are also trained into a pergola form to protect the grapes from being burned by the sun’s heat and also to obtain some coolness. Yields are very low and to make the wine, the vats are bled.

The wine is then partly matured in French oak barrels. The 2003 vintage, harvested during the southern hemisphere’s summer season, has smoky, coffee notes and a slight hint of smoked meat that gives it a trace of rustic hardness, without being unpleasant, since it is combined with a limestone mineralness and touches of slightly candied and spicy red fruits. The texture is full-bodied, without being heavy, thanks to a lively finish that makes me think that some more ageing will make it more supple.

The 2004 vintage,

harvested during the southern hemisphere’s summer, already has more charm and finesse with an expression where the freshness and natural notes of red fruits are predominant and still this constant mineral quality which is rather like flint or gun flint, which suits it so well. Above all it has good balance on the palate, it is fleshy, with delightful velvetiness and has good length.

It should evolve well over the next three to six years.
Serve with red meats such as rib beef, venison or young wild boar.

A test which seems interesting is the production of a white wine using Carignan grapes, but following the white winemaking process.

Polynesia can be proud of its first vineyard and its wines, which deserve our encouragements and recognition, because these are original and unique wines with genuine personality.

Vin de Tahiti - SA Ampélidacées
Vallée de Tipaerui
B P 40003 • 98713 Papeete
Tél Tahiti 689 54 99 40 • Tél Rangiroa 689 96 04 70