SUBSTACK SPECIAL Georges Darriaud, Cairanne, 2020 France £90 for six bottles (individual bottle price £15 down from £18)
If you like Châteauneuf-du-Pape then you will love this wine.
Cairanne is a beautiful village in the Southern Rhone. The wines were previously classified on the label as 'Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne', but after an extended period where it was seen by many as the most consistently excellent of the villages, it was elevated to cru status in 2015. This means that wine produced here is now just labelled 'Cairanne'. They sit at the same level in the classification hierarchy as well-known names such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Gigondas.
Fully ripe Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre grapes are hand-picked from old bush vines on selected hillside slopes within Cairanne. The vineyards have the classic argilo-calcaire soil of limestone pebbles over clay and the vines are harvested by hand. The wine is matured in seasoned French new and old oak barrels.
We recommend opening the bottle at least an hour in advance. The flavours spread completely across the spectrum with deep red, black fruits and liquorice from the Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre. You then have the spice and toasty notes from two years in oak and finally figs and cedar from the 3 years of ageing.