White, Ready, but will keep

2016 Cairanne Blanc, Haut-Coustias, Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin

2016 Cairanne Blanc, Haut-Coustias, Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin

White | Ready, but will keep | Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin | Code:  49614 | 2016 | France > Rhône > Cairanne | White Rhône Blend | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.0 % alcohol


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Scores and Reviews

The Wine Advocate


The Wine Advocate - Produced from 70- to 90-year-old vines and ridiculously low yields of only 18 hectoliters per hectare, the 2016 Cairanne Blanc Haut Coustias is a marvelous study in complexity and balance. The 40% Clairette and 20% Grenache Blanc go into concrete, the 20% Roussanne goes into foudre and the 20% Marsanne goes into demi-muid. The result is full-bodied, with a rich, honeyed nose and layers of pineapple, melon and citrus fruit, yet somehow it is all balanced by spice, zest and brine. I'd drink it in its first few years, but I wouldn't be surprised if this could still be drinking well at age 5 or even beyond.
Joe Czerwinski - 30/11/2017

The Producer

Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin

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 Grape

White Rhône Blend

White Rhône Blend

With the exception of the wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet virtually all Rhône Valley whites are made from blends.

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.

The Region


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

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