£13.50, Yapp Bros
I haven’t seen the label of the follow-on vintage of this generous, warm-hearted southern Rhône, but for the first time it won't have to carry the words Côtes du Rhône Villages. Like Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Rasteau before it, Cairanne has been elevated to full AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) status. Houpla! What difference will it make? Well, prices aren’t going to go down, for sure, but in recognition of its new position in the hierarchy Cairanne's prices could start to creep up. For now, though, Cairanne is good value, and the plump, rounded 2015 Eschaffins especially so. It’s full of spicy, nutty, sweet earth, dark chocolate, wild plum and blackberry flavours with a closing stony fresh uplift and it's from an excellent vintage via the ever-reliable Pascal Frères team and the Rhône specialists Yapp Brothers. It's a conventional blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, there's no oak (fermentation in stainless steel, ageing in cement tanks) and it’s ready for drinking now, although you could keep it three or four years more. If there’s a barbecue on the horizon, here’s your wine. If we’re still cosying up to radiators, Agas and wood burners, bring on the casseroles, cassoulets, gratins, tagines and roasts and follow up with some hard cheese (Comté, Ossau Iraty, Manchego, Cheddar).
Domaine Eschaffins Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015, France
£13.50, Yapp Brothers