Exploring Cairanne (3) Domaine Boisson, with Bruno Boisson and a terroir tour

I took a tour of some of the Cairanne terroirs with Bruno Boisson. He explained that Cairanne has freshness with the river moderating the warmth of the summer. It’s in the west of the southern Rhône, so there’s more windy mistral here than in their neighbours Gigondas or Rasteau. ‘Cairanne is a fresh, fruity style of wine,’ says Bruno. ‘It’s not the most powerful appellation, but it has elegance.’

We began in the first of the three distinctive terroirs in the appellation, the alluvial soils of the Terrasse du L’Aygue, with gravels, fine sands and some clay. He says these make fine fruity wines with freshness, and this is about 30% of the appellation.

Then we looked at the sandy soils that he has, which are rare (this is in effect a fourth type of soil, but is just 5% of the appellation). Here he has 5 year old bush vines and also some old vines that were planted in 1915.

Next, the mountain – the slopes of the Montagne de Ventabren. Here the soils we saw were blue clay, with some limestone content, and just above these the soils are completely dominated by rocky limestone. There’s diversity here caused by erosion.

Finally, the garrigue. A plateau of old river slopes over red clay. The cobble stones made this hard to plough with horses so it was mostly grazing scrubland until mechanical tractors came along in the 1950s, and now it can be ploughed. This makes powerful wines that are the backbone of blends.

Domaine Boisson Cairanne Les Trois Terroirs 2022 France
14% alcohol. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan on mainly 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 Boisson L’Exigence Cairanne 2022 France
This is almost entirely Grenache from very old vines, aged in a foudre. So supple and fresh and understated with nice mineral hints and a lovely grainy, tannic structure. Real precision here with volume, but in a lighter, low-extraction style showing great finesse. Fine and elegant. 95/100