I love Cairanne, and the estates that satisfy my tastes--primarily L'Oratoire Saint Martin and Rabasse Charavin are traditionalists, using mostly large, seasoned foudres, rather than new oak barriques. I know very little about Les Quatres Filles, but when I saw it available for $10 a bottle, I bought a couple of bottles. Opening one tonight, I am disappointed because it is clearly a modern version of a traditional favorite.
Inky dark. Barriques. Beautiful scents of fresh strawberries, flowers and vanilla. Some interesting flavors opening up on the palate, but there is still significantly more tannin than I expect from a 14-year-old Southern Rhone. And the peppery structure I love in Rabasse Charavin has been replaced by sweet vanilla and chocolate. A good wine and a bargain at $10...but not my style.
It's an interesting contrast. In Barolo, barriques were introduced by modernists in order to make the wine easier to drink young. In the Southern Rhone, most CDR Village wines drink beautifully from day one...unless the Grenache has been aged in barriques, adding oak tannins that linger, sometimes too long.