A picture of one of the Hautes Cances wine labels (the Cotes du Rhone label is in the same style)
This is a very special effort from one of my favorite winemakers.
Jean Marie Astart and his wife Anne-Marie, the husband and wife team behind Domaine les Hautes Cances, own several plots in Cairanne, the best of the Cotes du Rhone Villages. Their holdings are small and they harvest each plot with care. In Cairanne - but just outside the boundry for "Cairanne" designated wine - they have a tiny hillside plot that can be sold only as "Cotes du Rhone" - without the Cairanne label. They treat it the same as their more expensive Cairanne. It has 48 year old vines, the yields are low - about 35 hl/ha which is 40% below the average Cotes du Rhones - and they make only 400 cases.
If you know this wine from previous vintages I know you will want some 2009. If you do not know this wine, don't miss this vintage. It is soft, round, smooth and incredibly concentrated for a "Cotes du Rhone". For me, it has the taste of Provence. Fresh red fruit mixed with the unique Rhone garrigues, the local scrub and herbs of rosemary and thyme, and of course the minerally taste of stones found in all the best Rhone vineyards. This is Provence at its best - and still priced as an everyday wine while delivering so much more.
Everyone agrees, the 2009 Southern Rhones are not to be missed. Robert Parker gives the 2009 vintage a 93 for the Southern Cotes du Rhone. Wine Spectator goes even higher, rating the vintage a 93-96! And Wine Spectator compares the 2009s to the hallowed 2007 vintage. Here's the full description:
"Cool, rainy weather in winter and spring was key; ripening was fast but even. Thanks to cool nights starting in late August, grapes retained acidity. A cross between '05 and '07, with ripe fruit and polished tannins."
Get your stew pot bubbling and your corkscrew
twisting. The 2009s, particularly this Hautes
Cances Cotes du Rhone will
want seconds of everything! This wine is powerful, knee-deep in black fruits and so
vineyard is small and a very gravely special hillside plot so Jean Marie treats it like his much more expensive Cairanne wines. The soil is the magic hillside
that drains from the top and yet harbors
water deep in the earth to nourish the vines
during times of drought, which are frequent
in the southern Rhone. The cepage is: 34%
Syrah, 19% Grenache, 19% Carignan, 15%
Cinsault, 13% Mourvedre.
There is severe selection in the vineyard so
only the ripest and most comely grapes make
it to the vat. Jean-Marie uses a modest
amount of older Gigondas barrels for aging
this wine. He does not fine or filter. When
you have your first sips of this wine, swirl
it around in your mouth and think about its
richness and its length. There really is a
clear difference between this wine and most
other Cotes du Rhones out there.
I don't think I know any grower who puts more
effort into their wines than this familial
the southern Rhone. They pretty much work
themselves to the bone, but the wines are
fabulous! And, the prices are so amazingly
Jean-Marie and Anne-Marie work out of a modest
house in the middle of the village of
Cairanne. Anne-Marie's great grandparents
created Domaine les Hautes Cances in 1890. The land passed
down through the family until it came to
Anne-Marie. When she inherited the property
she was already ensconced in a medical career
as was her husband, Jean-Marie.
Jean-Marie decided to give up his medical
career to farm the family vineyards and
vinify his own wine, which at the time was being sold
off in bulk to the Cairanne cooperative.
Jean-Marie built a new winemaking
for natural temperature control. His
vinification is done using gravity to protect
the grapes along their journey into the vat.
The place is absolutely eat-off-the-floor
Jean-Marie has a singular passion
when it comes to winemaking and it shows in
To order just hit reply and let me
know how many
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