Exploring Cairanne (2) tasting with the youngsters – Serre-Blanc, Rabasse Charavin, Alary, Grands Serres and Berthet-Rayne

Tasting with the young vignerons of Cairanne

Cairanne is a dynamic appellation and there are quite a few young winegrowers operating here. I met with a few of them at Serre-Blanc, a recently acquired domaine headed by a 30 year old pilot called Charles Aubert (pictured above). It was a really interesting tasting on a beautifully sunny March afternoon.

Château de Serre-Blanc

Charles Aubert went organic with his first vintage then 2022, and then progressed to biodynamics. This farm had been organic since 2009. There are 20 hectares, in AOC Cairanne and Côtes-du-Rhône Village Plan-de-Dieu.

Château de Serre-Blanc Cairanne Blanc 2022
Rousanne, Grenache Blanc and Clairette (stainless steel). Blue clay soils higher up on the slope. Hand harvested, fermented in used French oak (Bourgogne) for 8 months then bottled together. Complex and layered with fine, fresh citrus fruit and some pear and white peach. Has a slight salinity and a bit of fine-grained structure. Such finesse here. 93/100

Château de Serre-Blanc Résurgence Cairanne Rouge 2021
First vintage. The top of the vineyard, galets roulés, 80 year old vines, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah. Low temperature vinification at 21/22 C, then 14 months in barrel and demi-muids, all used. Delicate, refined nose with some liquorice and pepper notes as well as red cherries and plums. The palate is fresh, focused and shows some delicacy with nice tannins hiding under the sweet cherry fruit. Nice precision here with fine structure. 94/100

Château de Serre-Blanc Cairanne Rouge 2022
Five varieties, led by Grenache, with Syrah, Carignan (70 years old), Mourvèdre, Cinsault. Same vinification in concrete tank, 20-22 C. Elevage in concrete. Lovely freshness and focus here with a wet stone edge to the sweet red cherry, cranberry and berry fruits. Peppery and detailed with nice grippy tannins and notes of black tea and garrigue on the finish. I love the bright fruit here. 94/100

Domaine Alary

I tasted with Jean-Etienne Alary, who’s an 11th generation winegrower, with 30 hectares organically farmed. The vines are mainly on the slopes, around the mountain, and then part in the beginning of the garrigues with more sandy soils.

Domaine Alary La Jean de Verde Cairanne Blanc 2021
100% clairette from blue clay stone with some sand. 9 months in demi-muids, all used. No problems with dryness here: deep soils. Delicate, fine and slightly salty with lovely balance, showing sweet pear and white peach fruit with a lovely stony note on the finish. Fine and expressive with real precision as well as depth. 94/100

Domaine Alary La Brunote Cairanne Rouge 2021
Co-fermented Grenache, Mourvèdre (50%) and Carignan (15%). 40% whole bunch, split among the varieties. 55 year old on average. Fresh, linear and fine with some lightness of body but also nice concentrated flavours of dried herbs, red cherries and plums. There’s a sweet core to the red berry and cherry fruits, with some fine peppery notes and lovely dried herb, aniseed and garrigue notes on the finish. Such finesse here. 94/100

Domaine A Berthet-Rayne

Alexandre Berthet-Rayne makes these wines alongside with her father, she’s the fifth generation working with her husband. She’s been working since 2017. In 2023 she had a baby in August so she didn’t do vintage then. They’ve been making natural wines since 2013, and in 2020, her first vintage, she started with Cairanne.

Cuvée Les Perchettes Cairanne Blanc 2023
Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier. Organic and biodynamic. Stainless steel. No added sulfites, and Vin Methode Nature. Fresh, supple and textured with smooth, sleek pear, melon and peach fruit, with a smoothness to the texture. Slight saltiness here. Very pure and harmonious with nice elegance. 93/100

Cuvée Les Perchettes Cairanne Rouge 2022
60% Grenache (half whole bunch), 40% Syrah. No added sulfites. Vivid and quite powerful with a dry quality to the black cherry and blackberry fruit. Grippy and grainy with nice detail, showing a savoury, gravelly, slightly tarry edge to the palate. Lovely intensity here, finishing quite dry and grippy. 92/100

Rabasse Charavin

Martin Lepoutre and his partner Marta are the 6th generation here. He joined the estate last summer, she joined in 2018, and her mother and grandmother still work there. This cuvée started in mid-1980s

Cuvée d’Estevenas Cairanne 2019
15% alcohol. 80 Grenache 20 Syrah. Everything is in concrete tank. This is complex and refined with lovely grainy detail and some nice layered berry and cherry fruits. Liquorice and some liqueur-like cherry fruit here, this has some depth and warmth but also finesse and some white pepper on the finish. Really impressive. 94/100

Cuvée d’Estevenas Cairanne 2017
14.5% alcohol. Savoury-laced and supple with a grainy character under sweet cherry and plum fruit. Nice weight here with some fresh red cherry but also some stewed plum and damson character, but not too much. Balances the fruit and the savoury characters really well, with a touch of liquorice and pepper on the finish. 93/100

Grandes Serres

Website: https://grandes-serres.fr/en/maison-grandes-serres-chateauneuf-du-pape/

Romain Leroy is in charge here at Grandes Serres, which is a domain and negoce originally from Chateauneuf, owned by the Picard family in Bourgogne. The domaine has vineyards in Cairanne, Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone. The wines are vinified without sulfites.

Grandes Serres Haute Culture Cairanne 2019
15% alcohol. Organic. From the Lieux dits Les Enregades, Les Coustias, La Riedel. 250-350 m, limestone with white and yellow marls. Aged in concrete. Fine, detailed and expressive with lovely weight to the fresh red cherry and raspberry fruit. Modern and fine, but with some sweet fruit. Fine-grained tannins. Lovely liquorice and aniseed notes on the finish with lovely sweet ripe fruit. So fine. 95/100