A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books of the world

The latest cru from Côtes du Rhône, partners with a vinyl and wine company

Review by Catherine Ferguson

If I were to make a list of my favourite things, great wine and French indie disco would undoubtedly make the top ten. So just imagine my delight when Cairanne, the latest cru from Côtes du Rhône, partnered with Stylus, the vinyl and wine company.

They’ve produced the Cairanne Rocks box to introduce the appellation, its wines, story and heritage alongside a fairly epic album from French four-piece, Phoenix to wash it all down.

Cairanne is a little village in the South of the Rhone Valley, which sits on top of a hill at 320 metres, keeping watch over the surrounding vine-carpeted plains. The lion’s share of its wines are red, made from Grenache, Syrah and a smidgen of Mourvèdre. As the region with the greatest diversity of grape variety, combined with a multitude of terroir, it’s a winemaker’s dream, according to Jean-Etienne Alary, for whom wine making has been a family tradition since 1692.

The Cairanne Rocks box offers a flavour of the appellation from Arnoux et Fils Vieux Clocher 2017. Bursting with dark fruit and spices with a herbal finish, it went hand in hand not only with Friday night steak frites but also a rich lamb stew after a chilly Autumnal walk. At 14.5% it’s definitely a food wine and ideal for those chilly winter nights that are undoubtedly on the way.

For the people of Cairanne, winemaking is in their blood. Arnoux et Fils have been producing wine in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône since 1717, while Christine Brotte inherited her own estate Domaine Grosset from her father and his father before. With its 100 year old vines, Domaine Grosset was once the preserve of her Grandfather who was one of the Cairanne winegrower’s cooperative and mayor of the village. The winemaking journey is hugely significant, “I like to follow the growth of grapes and their expressions when vinified and matured,” she says, “Respect for the environment is also very important.”

Yves Jean Houser is the winemaker at Domaine des Amadieu where his organic vineyard brings him ever closer to nature. “I’d love for everyone to wake up to the importance of nature, climate and biodiversity,” he says. “I think it’s the balance between the Mediterranean sun, and the lightness brought in by the Mistral wind that makes the wine produced here so special.” With only manual harvesting allowed and such rich history in the pretty hilltop village, it strikes me as a veritable winemaking fairytale.

As for Phoenix, their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus, which won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, is another part of the fairytale. With deeply hypnotic tones, the electro synth melodies are layered against a guitar backdrop, building to hedonistic, yet soothing climax as the tracks progress. It was the perfect bedfellow for the Sunday stew and a large glass of Cairanne. riddle_stop 2

You can find more secrets of Cairanne unfolding at @aoc.cairanne or vignerons-cairanne.com #cairannerocks 

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