One of the important estates of the southern Rhone, the Domaine Rabasse-Charavin produces a range of fine wines from its own 40 hectare of vineyards spread out over the communes of Cairanne, Rasteau and Violes. This family domaine has been run by Corinne Couturier since 1985 when she took it over from her father, Robert Charavin. In 1993, her daughter Laure joined her, representing the fifth generation in the family to make wine at the Domaine. Couturier is one of the leading personalities in the southern Rhone, known for her serious, concentrated, traditionally-made wines from old vines. Under Couturier, vineyard management is “lutte raisonée”, or sustainable agriculture; the reds are bottled 100% unfined and unfiltered, which adds to their richness and natural typicité. In order to preserve the maximum amount of fruit, the wines are raised in steel or enameled cuves. Robert Parker gives the domaine four stars calling Couturier’s wines “excellent, rich, opulent, thick and sumptuous.” He adds “It is tempting to argue whether it is the Cairanne or Rasteau cuvées that are better, but frankly, everything that emerges from Rabasse-Charavin possesses plenty of fruit, character and quality.”
The reds are unfined and the whites and roses are fined with clay, so all wines are vegan friendly.
|Domaine Rabasse-Charavin Website|
|Cotes du Rhone Villages - Cairanne|
|To summarize Parker, there is no point trying to decide whether the Cairanne or Rasteau is the better wine as everything from this winery is of the highest quality. However, these two wines are distinct. Where the Rasteau is big, predominantly dark fruits and higher alcohol, the Cairanne is all about finesse, sweet fruit and elegance. It is a blend of old vines 70% Grenache (40-70 year old vines), 15% Syrah (20-30 years), 5% Cinsault (15-20 years) and 10% Counoise (30 years). The Syrah adds a gorgeous perfume and a silky texture. The vines grow on south-facing hillsides for maximum sun, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare. This wine will age well 5 to 8 years.|
The fruit is full, with notes of crushed dark berries. This is an elegant and powerful Rhone wine. The Cairanne is a fitting match to white meat dishes where a red wine is the answer: chicken, veal and pork. It is also super with aged cheeses.
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