There's Cairanne, and there's Cairanne. If you're looking for the best of the appellation, there are three good choices: 1) Domaine l'Oratoire Saint-Martin, produced by Frederic and Francois Alary, 2) Rabasse-Charavin, produced by Corinne Couturier, and 3) the Cairanne of Daniel and Denis Alary (uncle and cousin respectively of Frederic and Francois). The vineyards of these three estates are located on the St. Andeol hills; they are old, well situated and capable of producing wines comparable in quality to those of Chateauneuf du Pape (but at a fraction of the price).
This 2008 Reserve from l'Oratoire Saint-Martin was a bit cheaper than usual, presumably because the 2008 vintage was not as good as 2007, 2009 and 2010. But it is still a very good wine. Dark, saturated color. Blackberries, cassis and black pepper.The pepper gives it structure but doesn't detract from the ripe fruit flavors. Good intensity and a satisfying finish. Doesn't measure up to the 1998 or 1995 (nor the outstanding 2000) but still very good.