About this WINE
Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin
Our search for a top-notch Cairanne has led us to the Alary family in L’Oratoire St Martin. The family can trace its origins to the same decade as Berry Bros. & Rudd (1698 for us, 1692 for them) and now farms over 28 hectares, in the middle of which there was once, apparently, an oratory of some description.
Low yielding old vines are farmed biodynamically and the wines are vinified first in opentop fermenters and then in large foudres of 3,400 litres.
Cairenne reserve des Seigneurs is produced from vines planted on clay-limestone soils and 50-year-old vines. The blend is made up of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah. Pumping over for 12 days, followed by nine months’ ageing.
The wine appellation of Cairanne is located on a limestone plateau in Sourthern Rhone, its vineyards generally less elevated than those of Vacqueyras and Gigondas which are situated a few kilometres to the east.
The wines are benchmark Côtes du Rhône Villages, made from Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre, combining ripe fruit, pepper and spice.
Recommended Producer: Domaine de L'Ameillaud
White Rhône Blend
In the north, the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, and St-Péray are produced from blends of Marsanne and Roussanne. Generally Marsanne is the dominant partner and it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit. Roussanne, a notoriously low yielder and pernickety to grow, produces intensely aromatic wines which contribute bouquet, delicacy and finesse to the blend.
Until about 15 years ago there was very little interest in southern Rhône whites as it was widely believed that the combination of dull non aromatic grapes and the baking summer heat meant quality wine production was nigh impossible. Since then the quality has improved markedly through the introduction of cool fermentation techniques and increased plantings of northern Rhône white grapes.
The base of many blends is still Grenache Blanc, a widely planted variety producing fresh wines with apple-like fruits, often with hints of aniseed. Ugni Blanc is still found in many blends, as is Clairette though their general lack of character and definition has led to a reduction in plantings. The future for southern Rhône whites appears to lie with Roussanne, Marsanne, and, increasingly, Viognier.
Rated Outstanding - Decanter, Panel Tasting Southern Rhône Whites, Sept 2015
Fabulous! This has absolutely everything. Fat, fruit and richness.
Marcel Orford-Williams, Wine Society Buyer, Tasting Panel Decanter