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2012 Rhone – Cairanne & Rasteau


Rising Stars of the Rhone – Still GREAT BARGAIN REDS


Like Gigondas, which was elevated to “cru” status in 1971, the village of Rasteau was promoted in 2010, and Cairanne, a few kilometers to the west, has applied for promotion and, if all goes well, could receive it within a few years. (For now, it is a so-called Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, an in-between designation.)


Let’s get down to what really matters: the hedonistic appeal, and the great value, of these wines. The reds of Cairanne and Rasteau, are quintessential southern Rhône wines — fruity, heady and powerful. They are loaded with the region’s signature herbal, spicy notes, fragrant garrigue, or underbrush, that covers the dry land where there are no vineyards.


Cairanne or Rasteau? The vignerons describe Rasteau as more powerful, or “masculine,” and Cairanne as more elegant, or “feminine.” The differences stem largely from the terroir. The Rasteau vineyards stretch across several south-facing canyons with various kinds of clayey soils, whose vineyards bake in the Mediterranean sun. In Cairanne, the expositions and the soils are more varied, with some sandy plots alongside the clay.


We have been big fans of both Cairanne and Rasteau since we opened - and 2012 has given us another great set of wines.  The Grand Bois Cairanne - believe it or not - was one of Decanter's top Rhone Reds - they gave it 95 points - and it still sells for under $20 (95pt Gigondas is now close to $100!)


While these wines are starting to show great now - they will be at their best in 5-7 years! 



2012 Grands Bois Cairanne Cuvee Maximillian    

reg $19.99 / $17.99 by the case (6)


95 points Decanter


 **Silver Decanter Wine Awards** Spicy and dry tannins support a juicy berry and summer fruit core, with a pleasant touch of vanilla.  (7/ 2014)


Wine Advocate 92 – “The 2012 Cairanne Maximilien (50% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah, aged 7 months in concrete) offers up a rocking bouquet of darker fruit, licorice, mineral and toasty qualities. This flows to a Medium to full-bodied, pure and textured 2012 that has excellent mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. It’s a knockout Cairanne that will have 7-8 years of longevity.”




2012 Grand Nicolet Rasteau VV    

reg $24.99 / $19.99 by the case (6)


Wine Advocate (91-93) – “The 2012s here are loaded with potential. Starting out, the 2012 Rasteau Vieilles Vignes is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, with the Grenache aged all in concrete and the Syrah in 2-year-old barrels. Full-bodied, rich and beautifully proportioned, with sweet, silky tannin and rocking length, it gives up copious cassis, currants, graphite, crushed rock and licorice aromas and flavors. Classic Rasteau, it’s well worth seeking out and should shine for upward of a decade. Drink 2014-2022.


Run by Jean-Pierre Bertrand, with consulting help from Philippe Cambie, this top-notch estate covers over 70 acres, mostly in Rasteau.



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