Of all the Cotes du Rhone Villages, Cairanne is my favorite. And of all Cairanne wines, Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin is at the top of my list. Of the range of wines produced at this estate, on the other hand, the Reserve des Seigneurs takes second place behind the Prestige bottling (which in recent years has become known as Cuvee les Douyes). The Douyes vineyard (a field blend of Grenache and Mourvedre) was planted in 1905 while the Reserve comes from a parcel (Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah) that is a mere 50 years of age. It is a special occasion for me when I buy or open either of these wines.
This bottle of the Reserve is a bit less intense than previous bottles. It may be showing signs of age, but I would be quite happy to have a few more bottles of this for future occasions. Medium deep ruby. Red fruit and garrigue from the Grenache backed by some deeper, darker tones of Mourvedre. The Mourvedre is just beginning to raise its head. So who knows how much better this wine will become as the Mourvedre assumes dominance? According to many critics, the soil and climate here is perfectly suited to that grape.