Domaine Alary Côtes du Rhône “La Gerbaude” 2017


(89-90) Tasted from Barrel by Joe Czerwinski,, “The 2017 Cotes du Rhone la Gerbaude looks to be another successful vintage. It’s floral, herbal and spicy up front, with black cherry and licorice notes on the medium to full-bodied palate. The tannins are ripe and creamy, the finish long.”

“One of the top names in Cairanne, Domaine Alary is a must stop for fans of traditional Southern Rhône wines. There’s little oak or artifice here, just impeccable farming and attention to detail in the winery. Starting with the 2016 vintage, the young Jean-Etienne Alary (Denis’s son) has hit the ground running as winemaker, after having done harvests overseas at Henschke (in Barossa) and Seresin (in Marlborough). “The trouble in 2017 was low yields and lots of tannins,” he said. “We had to keep the ferments cool and not do a lot of extraction.” The resulting wines in tank look potentially just as good as the 2016s, which Denis compares to historic vintages like 2007, 2001 and 1990. For the most part, these are wines that are flattering to taste young, yet they drink well for up to decade. Even the 2008 le Font d’Estévenas, from a difficult vintage, is still delicious today, even as it begins to dry out.”

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Denis Alary and his family have been in the Cairanne region of the southern Rhone since 1692 so it’s fair to say that they know a thing or two about it. Cairanne has recently been promoted from Cotes du Rhone Village status to a fully fledged Cru (to rank alongside Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Tavel, Lirac and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), exciting changes are happening in the hamlet of Cairanne. This is in no small measure due to the patience and knowledge of Denis who has stood as the Chair of the Appellation for the past 20 years.

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