Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin, Cairanne Haut Coustias Blanc, 2015

Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin, Cairanne Haut Coustias Blanc, 2015

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  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Clairette 40%, Roussanne 30%, Marsanne 20%, Grenache Blanc 10%

One of the best Southern Rhône whites, and often misjudged for its surprisingly low price.

Haut Coustias Blanc is a selection from the Domaine's oldest, lowest-yielding white vines (over 75 years old), facing east and in the chalkiest, coolest part of l'Oratoire's 'la Montagne' terroirs.

The wine is very well structured around its acidity, and white fruits and lemon add to the fresh, full-bodied palate. The wine will last for years to come, however is perfectly ready to drink now, too.

A lesser known detail...

The different varietals go into different type of vats, allowing for different volume to surface ratios, different level of oxygen exchange, different interaction with the materials, and hence optimising each batch individually. The Clairette and Grenache Blanc go into concrete, the Roussanne goes into foudre and the Marsanne goes into demi-muid.

About Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin

The Alary family in L’Oratoire St Martin can trace its origins back to 1692 and today they farm over 28 hectares as Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin, in the middle of which there was once, apparently, an oratory of some description.

Low yielding old vines are farmed bio dynamically and the wines are vinified first in open top fermenters and then in large foudres of 3,400 litres.

Cairenne reserve des Seigneurs is produced from vines planted on clay-limestone soils and 50-year-old vines. The blend is made up of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah. Pumping over for 12 days, followed by nine months’ ageing.

Grape variety

Clairette is a white wine grape variety most widely grown in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc in France. At the end of the 1990s, there were 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of Clairette grown in France, although volumes are decreasing.

Clairette Blanche was often used to make vermouth, to which it is suited as it produces wine high in alcohol and low in acidity, and therefore yields wines that are sometimes described as "flabby" and which tend to oxidise easily. These problems have sometimes been partially overcome by blending it with high-acid varieties such as Piquepoul Blanc. It is allowed into many appellations of Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc. The white wines Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are made entirely from Clairette Blanche, while the sparkling wine Clairette de Die can also contain Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Clairette Blanche is frequently used in the blended white Vin de pays from Languedoc.

It is also one of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. With 2.5% of the appellation's vineyards planted in Clairette Blanche in 2004 it is the most common white variety in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, slightly ahead of Grenache Blanc.

Outside France it is also grown in South Africa for sparkling wine, Australia and Sardinia.

Alternative Names: Clairette Blanche, Blanquette

Grenache Blanc

Grenache Blanc (also known as garnatxa Blanca in Catalonia) is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterised by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigour can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavour and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne. Since the 1980s, it has been the fifth most widely planted white wine grape in France after Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Alternative Names: Garnacha Blanca, Garnatxa Blanca, White Grenache


Marsanne is a white wine grape, most commonly found in the Northern Rhône region. It is often blended with Roussanne. In Savoie the grape is known as grosse roussette. Outside France it is also grown in Switzerland (where it is known as ermitage Blanc or just ermitage), Spain (where it is known as Marsana), Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Alternative Names: Marsana, Ermitage, Ermitage Blanc, Grosse Roussette, Hermitage


Roussanne is a white wine grape grown originally in the Rhône wine region in France, where it is often blended with Marsanne. It is the only other white variety, besides Marsanne, allowed in the northern Rhône appellations of Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Hermitage AOC and Saint-Joseph AOC. In the southern Rhône appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC it is one of six white grapes allowed, where it may be blended into red wines. Roussanne is also planted in various wine-growing regions of the New World, such as California, Washington, Texas, South Africa and Australia as well as European regions such as Crete, Tuscany and Spain.

The berries are distinguished by their russet colour when ripe—roux is French for the reddish-brown colour russet, and is probably the root for the variety's name. The aroma of Roussanne is often reminiscent of a flowery herbal tea. In warm climates, it produces wines of richness, with flavours of honey and pear, and full body. In cooler climates it is more floral and more delicate, with higher acidity. In many regions, it is a difficult variety to grow, with vulnerability to mildew, poor resistance to drought and wind, late and/or uneven ripening, and irregular yields.

Wines made from Roussanne are characterised by their intense aromatics which can include notes of herbal tea. In its youth it shows more floral, herbal and fruit notes, such as pear, which become more nutty as the wine ages. Roussanne from the Savoie region is marked by pepper and herbal notes. Wine expert Oz Clarke notes that Roussanne wine and Roussanne dominated blends can drink very well in the first 3 to 4 years of their youth before entering a "dumb phase" where the wine is closed aromatically until the wine reaches 7 or 8 years when it develops more complexity and depth.

Alternative Names: Bergeron, Fromental

About Cairanne

Cairanne is an appellation for quality red, white and rosé wines from the parish of Cairanne in the southern half of the Rhone Valley in France. The wines were previously classified 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 2016.

This means the wines are now just labelled 'Cairanne'. They sit at the same level in the classification hierarchy as well known, location specific names such as Gigondas or Cornas, plus other more recently promoted appellations such as Rasteau.

Cairanne lies to the east of Orange, just a short distance from banks of the Rhône river. The climate here is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers bringing excellent ripening potential to the Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes used to produce most of the local red wines. Mourvèdre and Grenache require a hot, dry climate to fully ripen, the former particularly so.

These two grapes are rarely found north of Montelimar, which marks the boundary between the northern Rhone and the hotter southern Rhône. Syrah, on the other hand, prefers the coolest of Cairanne's mesoclimates, as it is more susceptible to heat damage. The other red grapes that are permitted are those of a standard Côtes du Rhône red wine blend.

The Aigues river passes right through Cairanne on its course to meet the Rhône river just west of Orange. The river brings much-needed water to the hot, dry lands of the southern Rhône region.

The soils of Cairanne are predominantly of limestone and alluvial types (explained by the presence of several local rivers and streams) and red, iron rich earth over sandstone bedrocks. The topography ranges from the glacial plateau to the south of the town to the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail foothills to the north and west.

The appellation's fresh, floral white wines are produced from the classic southern Rhône varieties Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier.

Regular price $72.00

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