| CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
Cairanne, with its raised bell tower dominating the surrounding countryside, sits on a hilltop in the middle of an ocean of vines. One of the oldest villages in the Vaucluse, Cairanne has long been fought over because of its strategic position and traces of fortification are still present today.
The discovery of a Neolithic cemetery near the village indicates that people have lived in Cairanne since at least 2000 B.C. The vines were first cultivated during the Middle Ages under the aegis of the Templars and then the Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean-de Jérusalem and 14th century decrees mention vineyards in the area. By the early 15th century there are known to have been about 40 HA planted with vines. The wines were also highly regarded and in 1817 wine from Cairanne sold for 35 francs per HL, which was higher than Châteauneuf du Pape at 30 francs!
Wines Éric's Cairanne, made from 60 year old Grenache and 30 year old Mourvèdre vines, is a forceful, big, mouth filling wine of a rich, purple-red color. Featuring a peppery, rich nose with blackcurrant fruit flavors this is a rounded, elegant and fleshy wine that will continue to improve in the cellar.
Vineyards Éric's Cairanne comes from two vineyards, right next to each other, one planted with Grenache, the other with Mourvèdre. The rows are spaced at 1.5 meters and the vines are on average 40 years old. The Grenache is gobelet trained (head pruned) but the Mourvèdre is trellised. The vineyards are located 2 km south of the town of Cairanne on the southern edge of the A.O.C
Terroir Located 20 kilometers east of Orange, the Cairanne vineyards are in a very rocky soil of limestone and silica. The soil sits atop a base of ancient sandstone and is very poor supporting only vines and olive trees. The climate is Mediterranean with the exception that le mistral will blow her brutal gusts.
Côtes du Rhône Villages
In 1953 four villages in the Southern Rhône were making wines considered
to be of higher quality than those usually produced under the generic
Côtes du Rhône label. These four villages - Cairanne, Laudun,
Chusclan and Gigondas were not considered to be ready for full appellation
status (like those of Châteauneuf du Pape, Côte Rotie, Hermitage,
etc.) but were certainly superior to the many Côtes du Rhône
wines produced. Therefore the INAO (National Institute of Appellations
of Origin) decided that if these villages followed agreed upon rules they
would create a new status to identify their higher quality wines. Rules
were laid out that governed grape varieties, yields per hectare and the
minimum alcohol strength of their red wines raised from 11% to 12.5%.
Producers following these rules were then allowed to market their wine
as Côtes du Rhône - "Cairanne" for example and therefore
to promote the distinctive characteristics of their local terroir. After
two additional villages joined this illustrious group (Vacqueyras in 1955
and Vinsobres in 1957) a common title was created in 1967 to apply to
all of the wines: Côtes du Rhône Villages. Today there are
16 villages with this status
2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring with above average temperatures. Flowering started towards the beginning of May and June and July continued to be warm with heavy rainfall in July. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C resulting in the grapes reaching a good maturity. September brought le mistral, which continued for nearly 2 weeks. Harvest commenced in mid September with the Grenache and finished with the Mourvèdre the 3rd week of September.
The 2001 Cairanne is a full, round perfectly structured wine with a nose
of pepper, small black fruit, burnt spices and a hint of amaretto.
© 2003 Éric Texier