If there Is one good thing about the continuing escalation of Chateauneuf du Pape prices, it's the increased appreciation it has given me for lesser appellations and lesser wines. When I could buy my favorite Cairanne, Domaine l'Oratoire Saint Martin, for $6 to $8 a bottle and drink it as often as I wanted, I had a tendency to take it for granted. Why bother to look for lesser wines from Cairanne? With l'Oratoire Saint Martin now selling for $20 to $25, I Looked for, and found, a less expensive Cairanne to satisfy my daily thirst.
Camille Cayran 2004 is a beautiful crimson Grenache color, with just a bit of bricking around the rim. And it is classic Cairanne--dark cherries and red raspberries backed by Rhone spices and freshly ground black pepper. This wine has everything you expect from Cairanne and from the 2004 vintage. It Is so plump and fruity and acccessible that, again, it's easy to take it for granted. I love this wine, and the more I drink, the more I find to love. Camille Cayran is a cooperative of 100 growers, and this Cairanne Reserve is made using carbonic maceration. After six years in the bottle, the fruit is still lively, and the wine is a good example of traditional Cairanne, usually selling for about $10 or less.