Denis Alary, Cairanne Rouge ‘L’Estévenas’ 2018

£20.00 (75cl)

Out of stock

SKU: RHAL0218B

About the wine

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Description

Old vines selected from the lieu-dit Estévenas, grown on clay and limestone south-facing slopes. Harvested exclusively by hand, to allow sorting in the vineyard and another trie at the entrance to the cellar. Only the healthiest, ripest grapes are retained. Separate vinification of each of the different grape varieties. Bottled without fining.

Tasting note

An elegant nose combines black fruits and spices. mouth, large volumes and lots of smoothness. soft tannins and elegant, melted.

About the producer

The Alary family’s involvement in viticulture and wine production dates back as far as 1692, to the reign of Louis XIV. Tradition, passion and ‘savoir fair’ are key elements to tendering vines and maturing wines, and the acquired experience has been passed on from one generation to the next. In all, 10 generations have successively played their part in building this edifice, guided by a healthy respect for nature and for the general environment. Proof of this conviction can be found in a later stage in the development of the vineyard, with Denis’ decision in 2009 to convert to a programme of organic farming, after many years mastering traditional production techniques.

Over the years, he has learnt to understand the different ‘terroirs’ that make up the Cairanne appellation, which was elevated to ‘Cru’ status from the 2015 vintage onwards. South-facing slopes with white and blue clay soils, the lower terraces of the ‘garrigues’, the high plateau with cobbles covering underlying white and red clay, along with the richer soils close to the Plan de Dieu.

Most of Denis’ vines are grown on south-facing slopes, but a few parcels, facing north, ensure freshness and balance in hotter years. Domaine Alary comprises 8 different red grape varieties: Grenache (12ha), Syrah (6ha), Mourvèdre (2ha), Carignan (3ha), Counoise (0.5ha), Cinsault (1ha), Cabernet Sauvignon (1ha) and Merlot (0.5ha). For the white wines, there are 4 grape varieties: Roussanne (1.2ha), Clairette (1ha), Viognier (0.5ha) and Bourboulenc (0.3ha).

Plenty of ripe fruit, freshness and persistency are the essential characteristics of his wines. Denis’ wines are benchmark Southern Rhônes: full of sun and a joy to drink. Spicy, rich and peppery with warm juicy fruit, his wines are always extremely appealing and a great representation of this region. While Grenache makes up the majority of the vines planted on his 29 hectares of vineyards, he has an old plot of Syrah and uses it judiciously in the cuvée ‘L’Estévenas’. Despite increasing fame and demand, these wines remain great value.



Decanter Magazine (decanter.com):

This is immediately obvious from the black olive and charismatic exotic spice on the nose that this is Alary's Estévanas with coffee bean, a touch of cardamom and a smoky note of wood ash. It’s medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate, not terribly generous in fruit, the tannic grain becomes fast apparent on the saline, mineral finish, but it's ripe, albeit fibrous. This has greater length than many in this vintage and feels relatively ripe and harmonious with acidity that feels natural and in balance. Organic One of the first blocks of Syrah planted in the Southern Rhône in 1960, Serine clone of Syrah. South-facing clay-limestone slope. Hand-harvested, only using pumping-over for extraction. No additions. 18 months in concrete then six months in bottle before release. (Tasted by Matt Walls) Points: 92. Date Tasted: 01/10/2019

Regions Vintage Report:

A year defined by a very wet spring but a warm and dry summer with very different results. The whites have generally less alcohol and are successful across the region while the reds, more affected by the climate, express a multitude of styles. Once again the yields were low and a few producers hardly made any wine! The North The region wasn’t as badly affected by the rain and being located on steep hills many of the best vineyards have great drainage potential. There was a little mildew but quite limited compared to the South and the yields are correct. The whites are fresher than 2017, rich, aromatic but with good tension. The reds are concentrated but balanced with enough structure to guarantee ageing. Their ripeness makes them charming and very appealing already but, thanks to the concentration due to the relatively low yields, they are not light and the best examples will age very well. Overall it’s an extremely good vintage with a few exceptional wines. The South The year was complicated: the rain started late March and didn’t stop until June. Working in the vineyards was very difficult; treating against the diseases like mildew was a real challenge that many organic but also conventional producers lost resulting in very low yields. Some vineyards and appellations were more affected, especially when there is a large clay content in the soil. Fortunately the summer was dry, quite hot, and the healthier vines produced nicely ripened fruit. The wines are generally charming and very appealing now without a huge concentration of tannins but they have good balance and enough structure to age, especially for the better vineyards and the east of the region, less affected by the weather. Knowing about the difficulties encountered by the producers I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the wines, many showing delicate and charming styles with early potential. They are not as rich and powerful as the 2015, 2016 and some of the 2017 vintages but will be more satisfying to many drinkers, especially when consumed young as it so often happens.Christian Honorez, Director February 2020©adVINture 2020

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