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31 May 2014

Rhône: Domaine Brusset, Cairanne

Laurent Brusset's hillside vineyards are found around the old ring-walled village of Cairanne (about 20 km northwest of Orange, not far from Rasteau) and in the nearby 'Plan de Dieu' area (yes, it does mean something like "God's land"). Laurent has just stormed the 22nd 'Cuvée Alliance des Vignerons' competition with his red 2012 and white 2013 (the first time one winemaker has won both I'm told) picked from wines submitted by the 16 member wineries of the local Winegrowers' Association. Appropriately enough perhaps, without venturing too far into fact-geek territory, since Cairanne is one of the 16 'named' Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations. Laurent says his philosophy is "always trying to keep the wine's fruit." More info: www.domainebrusset.fr

2012 Les Chabriles vieilles vignes red Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne (old vines: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah; 40% of it aged in demi-muids; 14% abv) - aromatic and earthy blackberry, kirsch and cassis with peppery liquorice notes; full-bodied and quite punchy, concentrated and fruity with light touch of 'chalky' tannins and subtle dark chocolate bitter twist; warm and powerful with lovely vibrant dark fruit, spice and grip. Yum. £15 for the 2011, Big Red Wine Co (UK).
2013 Les Travers white (Grenache blanc, Viognier, Roussanne; 30% of it barrel-fermented with lees stirring; 13% abv) - yeast-lees and nutty edges with fresh vs baked pear fruit, subtle power, honeyed and white peach too vs aniseed tones and light coconut grain texture; almond flavours and rounded mouth-feel vs a more 'mineral' touch, lees and coconut tones too on the finish. Perhaps needs a few months in bottle to integrate more, good wine though. £12 for the 2012, Big Red Wine Co.

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