NEW ARRIVALS! Oratoire Saint-Martin from Cairanne
The ancient village’s stone ramparts glow gold in the setting sun. Mont Ventoux, hulking to the east, sits long in purple shadow. Here on the “mountain” of Cairanne, you can see it all — olive and almond trees, the meandering path of the Rhône, rows of gnarled vines planted uncountable years ago.
Vine growers don’t move around so much. Ten generations of farmers and winemakers from the Alary family — the heart and soul of L’Oratoire Saint-Martin — have, either on the way to the fields or back home again, stood exactly where you’re standing and surveyed the cool beauty of Cairanne.
The family’s roots truly run deeper than the village’s centenarian vines, which is why when the best wines of Cairanne are mentioned, the first — and foremost — reference is L’Oratoire Saint-Martin.
It’s no exaggeration that L’Oratoire Saint-Martin is one of the finest estates in the southern Rhône, and that list includes the top names of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Our selections from this exemplary organic estate have just arrived in our temperature-controlled warehouse. If you have yet to experience these soulful, spicy and long-lived wines, the time to do so is now.
Why now? Cairanne today is in the spotlight, having been just awarded cru status, putting the village on the same AOC footing as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. (Cairanne was previously Côtes du Rhône-Villages.) Yet this crucial bureaucratic nod just confirms what insiders have known all along — Cairanne is the definitive source of elegant, balanced and age-worthy southern red blends.
And at the top of the top is L’Oratoire Saint-Martin — literally, as their vineyards are all located on the “mountain,” a hill that borders Cairanne and Rasteau.
Cairanne is cool-climate, southern Rhône nirvana. Limestone and clay soils remind of Burgundy, and the village’s location (north of Orange) exposes vineyards to the chilly “mistral” winds from the Alps. The result is wines that deliver the true concentration for which the Rhône is known with an ethereal elegance that showcases terroir at its finest.
And it goes without saying that L’Oratoire Saint-Martin wines are organic — in fact, the family has been farming organically for more than 30 years.
All our selections are ready to drink today — the Alarys release wines when they’re ready, which is why our selections reflect a range of vintages.
And when the name Cairanne eclipses that of Châteauneuf, you can say proudly that you were there first.
2014 Cairanne Blanc ‘Haut Coustias’
Golden, gorgeous, rare. Vines are 70 to 90 years old, planted by generations past. A sublime year for southern whites; balance, body and spice, this wine has it all. 40% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne, 10% Clairette and 10% Grenache Blanc.
2014 Cairanne Rouge ‘Réserve des Seigneurs’
Fruity, spicy and rich. Pure tank-made to preserve the wine’s plush fruit. This is Cairanne’s playful side, an easy-drinking red for barbecues and summer evenings. 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah.
2013 Cairanne Rouge ‘Les Douyes’
Amazing concentration, serious soul. A southern blend with a northern heart, grown on limestone (a la Burgundy) from vines planted in 1905. This bottle will best many a Chateauneuf without really even trying. 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre.
2012 Cairanne Rouge ‘Haut Coustias’
The estate’s flagship red blend, a tribute to the cool terroir of Cairanne and the estate’s ancient vines. Mourvèdre here is put center stage; 100 year old vines channel Bandol but are decidedly Cairanne, with tamed tannins and a silky profile. 60% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache and 20% Syrah.
Brother-winemakers François (left) and Frédéric Alary, with the “oratoire” or shrine to Saint-Martin, patron saint of winemakers, in the fields