May 9, 2022
Cairanne is an 877 ha/2,167 acre appellation in the southern Rhône Valley that has been farmed since the time of the Greeks. It is not just a regular appellation, it is a cru of elevated status in the Côtes du Rhône. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves! After tasting much of it at a wine fair in the southern Rhône, I found it unbelievably delicious. A cru with acidity and a lighter profile but still so much character? YES.
And after speaking to a few of the other producers in the appellation, I found Jean-Etienne Alary and his father, Denis. Jean-Etienne has a worldly view, after spending time in Australia and New Zealand, and Domaine Alary's wines are some of the best Cairanne out there. Combining old techniques and newer ideas, Domaine Alary makes spectacular wines, with Jean-Etienne taking over the main winemaking duties from his father, Denis, who helped lead the charge to make Cairanne a Cru.
Photo: Denis and Jean-Etienne Alary. ©Wine For Normal People
Here's a quick look at the topics we discuss in the show:
1. Jean-Etienne gives us a full education on Cairanne. We cover:
2. Then we discuss the 11 generations of the Alary family, their history in Cairanne and their essential role in Cairanne
3. We discuss the cru system and how, even though all cru are equal in the eyes of the law, they are not treated the same. Jean-Etienne talks about his aspirations to make Cairanne as well recognized as other cru
4. We discuss Jean-Etienne’s experiences in winemaking in Australia at Henschke and New Zealand at Seresin and the differences in how things get done in France vs the New World.
5. We talk about the wines of Alary:
If you haven’t had a wine from Cairanne, seek it out, especially the wines of Alary. These wines are elegant, drinkable, and fantastic with food!
Thanks to our sponsors this week:
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