Exploring Cairanne (1) a large tasting of the 2022 wines

For a long time, Cairanne was part of Côtes de Rhône Villages, but it became a cru in 2015, after an eight-year process. As part of becoming a Cru, the INAO required them to reduce the area included from 1350 hectares to 1088 hectares, and sadly some of the good terroirs of Cairanne weren’t included in the new cru. Other changes that were needed for cru status were the outlawing of machine harvesting, and the level of total SO2 was reduced to the level allowed in organics.

‘In the family of crus, we are not the most powerful and concentrated,’ says grower Bruno Boisson. ‘We are more elegant style. One of my friends says it is the most Burgundian cru of the southern Rhône.’

This is a dynamic region, and one of the interesting moves has been to give the younger winegrowers here some budget for promotion. They bought an empty container and have adapted it, and use it for tasting parties in the middle of the vineyards, with a few winemakers getting together to pour the wines.

They are also dynamic in terms of ecology, and there’s currently a project planting 1000 trees in the vineyards over the next few years, and installing insect hotels. They are also establishing two walking paths through the vineyards, one 5 km and one 10 km, to get visitors out into the vines.

There are three main terroirs in the appellation, which is based on just one village, Cairanne, in the north of the appellation. The most abundant one is known as terrace de garrigue. Then there’s what’s referred to as the mountain, which isn’t really a mountain, but the slopes of the Montagne de Ventabren. Finally, we have some more sandy soils.

The garrigue is the main terroir, to the south of the village. This flat terroir is alluvial, with very southern-Rhône-looking pebble stones, over the top of brown clay from the Tertiary period, which is able to store water. This is a windy plateau, and so there’s plenty of ventilation.

The mountain refers to the hills north of Cairanne called the Montagne du Ventabren. This Miocene hill is based on limestone and erosion has created some interesting terroirs here with flint and limestone pebbles as well as marl (a lime-rich clay). These slopes face south.

Then we have the terraces of the Aygues, to the west of the appellation. These are light-brown sandy alluvial soils with some small pebbles.

This was an extensive tasting of the 2022s from Cairanne, including a small number of whites. This is a cru that allows whites, but it is still red-wine-dominated, although in the future I wouldn’t be surprised to find more whites because these can be really good. There is no rosé carrying the Cairanne name.

As well as this tasting, I also visited a few domaines, which I have written up separately.


Domaine Martin Cairanne 2022
15% alcohol. Sweetly aromatic nose with ripe berries and plums. The palate has generous but well balanced sweet cherry and berry fruit with a chalky undercurrent. Very expressive and with lovely weight. Has a liqourice edge and a slight saltiness on the finish. 91/100

Domaine Boisson Cairanne Les Trois Terroirs 2022
14% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan on limestone soils. Nice ripe fruit here with sweet cherries and berries, but also a lively spiciness and good acidity. There’s some frilly, spicy Mourvèdre tang on the finish and notes of sweet olive and cured ham adding interest. 92/100

Domaine du Trapadis (Helen Durand) Cairanne Les Garrigues 2022
14% alcohol. Organic. This has lovely concentration of peppery, savoury laced black cherry and blackberry fruit with some grainy structure and a mineral, gravelly finish. Brooding and quite intense with a savoury, spicy dimension. Very satisfying. 94/100

Domaine les Grands Bois Cairanne Maximilien 2022
15% alcohol. At the foot of Mont Ventoux, organically farmed Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Sweetly aromatic. Notes of meat, spice and olive with some dried herbs and spice. Meaty and intense with nice density to the fruit. Vivid and lively with some good tannins and nice detail on the finish. 93/100

Domaine A. Berthet-Rayne Cairanne Vieilles Vignes 2022
14.5% alcohol. Organic. Meaty, spicy, vivid and with some grippy tannins, this has a sense of wildness. It’s savoury and tangy with nice intensity and a tingling, lively, slightly sour finish. Lots of personality here. 91/100

Domaine Fond Croze Cairanne 2022
15.5% alcohol. Organic. This has a sweet liqueur-like quality to the cherry and strawberry fruit, and it’s rounded and inviting with lovely texture and some fine-grained tannins. Carries its high alcohol well. Lovely sweet red fruits dominate here: a stylish wine, finishing slightly salty and grainy. 94/100

Pierre Amadieu Cairanne Les Hautes Rives 2022
14.5% alcohol. From hillside slopes with marl and pebble soils. Fresh and supple with bright red cherry and plum fruits with a sense of brightness, and quite firm tannins under the sweet fruit. Tending to elegance, this could be a good mid-term ager. 93/100

Domaine Marcel Richaud Cairanne 2022
15% alcohol. Organic Mourvèdre (40%), Grenache (20%) and Carignan (20%) from five terroirs. Highly aromatic with floral black fruits. Lovely intensity on the palate with sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit with some warm spicy notes, a twist of black cherry and some olive tapenade. Has ripe fruit but also some savouriness, good acidity and a sense of balance. Beautiful stuff. 95/100

Domaine des Escaravailles Cairanna Le Ventabren 2022
14.5% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. Slightly paler in colour than many, this is elegant and fine with sweet raspberries and cherries with fine-grained tannins. Slightly dusty and dry in a nice way, with great balance. 94/100

Domaine des Amadieu Cairanne 2022 Vieilles Vignes
14% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan over 50 years old, biodynamically farmed. Ripe and sweetly fruited with a nice core of lush but well balanced black cherry and black cherry fruit. Nice weight and focus here with sweet berry fruits, a bit of grip, and some salty hints. Substantial. 93/100

La Bastide Saint Dominique Les 2 Arbres Cairanne 2022
14.5% alcohol. Equal parts Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre. Has a salty, olive-like edge to the ripe, supple berry fruits. There’s and elegance and ease to this wine, with lovely balance and some garrigue-like herbal notes. 92/100

Domaine des Espiers 60/40 Cairanne 2022
15% alcohol. In conversion to organics this is made from 60 year old bush vine Grenache (60%) and Mourvèdre (40%). Nice purity and concentration here with lush red cherry and berry fruit supported by fine-grained tannins. There’s a harmony to this wine with lovely fruit expression and really appealing notes of dried rose petals, floral cherries and white pepper. So fine. 95/100

Domaine Lucien Tramier Cairanne 2022
13.5% alcohol. Organic. Brightly fruited with good concentration, showing ripe, focused, sweet cherry and berry fruits. Nice grip and intensity here with some raspberry and cherry freshness, as well as good tannins. Supple and delicious. 94/100

Cave de Cairanne Camille Cayran Cairanne Sans Soufre 2022
14.5% alcohol. Organic. Intense and quite vivid with a dusty spicy edge and pronounced tannins, often found in riper reds with no added sulfites. Some dried herbs in the mix with a core of sweet berries, showing nice focus. Finishes very grippy. 90/100 

Cellier des Princes Cairanne Le Mas des Falaises 2022
14% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. Warm, sweetly fruited nose of cherries, plums and Provençal herbs. Lovely palate showing bright , supple raspberry and cherry fruit with some herbal hints and a touch of spice. Very expressive with nice balance. 93/100

Domaine Clos Romane Cairanne Clos Romane 2022
14.5% alcohol. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Lovely olive tapenade edge to the rich, structured cherry and plum fruit with nice texture and some peppery detail. Fine and expressive with some chalky notes and a nice savoury, cured meat finish. 94/100

Domaine Roche Cairanne Marcel Roche 2022
15% alcohol. Organic. Mainly old Grenache 70 years old. Sweetly aromatic liqueur-like fruits with nice structure and concentration on the palate. Cherries and plums with nice density and a fine-grained tannic finish. 94/100       

Domaine de la Tête Noire Cairanne 2022
13.5% alcohol. Organic. Supple, brooding sweet black fruits with some gravelly underpinnings. Grippy and tannic with good balance. Has a savoury side that’s really nice. 93/100           

Domaine de Dionysos Cairanne La Cigalette 2022
14.5% alcohol. Organic. Fesh, floral, peppery nose. The palate has an intriguing spicy, herbal edge to the sweet red berry fruits, with hints of leather and aniseed in the mix, too. 92/100         

Domaine Rabasse Charavin Cairanne 2022
14.5% alcohol. No herbicides. Supple and elegant with a core of sweet cherry and berry fruits, a twist of pepper and some warm herbal hints. Expressive and easy, but with some grip. 93/100

Boutinot Cairanne Les Six 2022
14.5% alcohol. Blending Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan and Counoise, matured in large format oak. Concentrated but fresh with raspberries and cherries and nice purity. Linear with lovely raspberry and cherry on the palate showing a sense of finesse. 94/100

Rhonéa Carignan Porte d’Autanne 2022
14.5% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from three different terroirs. Rounded and supple with nice weight showing smooth, juicy cherries and plums. Nice ripe fruit here. Has an ease to it. 89/100

Domaine des Coteaux des Travers Cairanne Terra Rosea 2022
14.5% alcohol. Grenache and Mourvèdre, organically farmed. Lively, juicy, bright and vivid with the tangy, grippy, spicy twist that Mourvèdre brings quite high in the mix. Juicy, supple and fresh with nice bite. Lots of personality. 93/100

Domaine de l’Oratoire Saint-Martin Cairanne Réserve des Seigneurs 2022
Nice sweet fruit here. Rounded and ripe with supple cherries, plums and strawberries. Has a bit of structure, too. 90/100

Cave des Vignerons Réunis Cairanne Séduction 2022
14% alchol. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Supple and ripe with sweet cherries and plums. Nice density here with a bit of grip. Good balance and more than a hint of elegance. 90/100            

Domaine de la Présidente Cairanne Vieilles Vignes 2022
14.5% alcohol. Old vines of Grenache and Syrah with a bit of Mourvèdre. Dense, compact cherry and berry fruit showing good concentration, with some cedar spice and dried herb, as well as firm tannins. There’s density here, although it seems to have some oak in the mix too which is slightly distracting. 90/100     

Pierre de Fontval Cairanne 2022
14.5% alcohol. Grenache and Syrah. Fresh, supple and slightly peppery with juicy cherry and plum fruit. Midweight with nice drinkability. Juicy and expressive. 90/100          


Domaine Alary Cairanne Blanc L’Estevenas 2022
13.5% alcohol. Organically grown Clairette, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Lovely depth to this wine with white peach and pear fruit as well as a tingling wet stone mineral notes. Has freshness and focus. Very appealing, and well balanced. 93/100

Domaine Philippe Plantevin Cairanne Blanc 2022
13.5% alcohol. Organic Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Highly aromatic with pear and peach fruit, leading to a supple, textured palate showing some freshness and depth. Fine and delicate, but not lacking flavour, with a subtle cabbage and toast note in the background. Fine. 93/100

Domaine Les Chemins de Sève, Loïc Massart Carignan Blanc Opale 2022
14% alcohol. 40% Grenache, 40% Clairette and 20% Roussanne, organically farmed on sandy limestone soils. Bright, lively, fine and expressive with lovely lemon and grapefruit, with good acidity under the vividly fruity palate. Quite crystalline and alert. Lovely. 93/100

Domaine les Hautes Cances Cairanne Blanc 2022
14% alcohol. From 1.5. ha, mainly planted on the banks of the river Aygues. 40% Clairette with Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Bourboulenc. Pebbles, clay and sand. Textured and quite delicate with a sense of finesse to the pear and peach fruit. Beautifully balanced with some depth but also freshness. Fine grained and long. 94/100

Château de Serre-Blanc Cairanne Blanc 2022
13.5% alcohol. Organically farmed Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Focused and fresh with a nice mineral dimension to the lemon and pear fruit. Shows restraint and nice acidity: a linear expression of white Cairanne. 92/100