Marie and Marcel run Domaine Richaud, with Marcel as winemaker and Marie as manager. Marcel makes some wonderful wines, mostly of the little known village appellation Cairanne. Many consider him one of the top 2 or 3 producers in the appellation. His estate is made up of plots inherited from his parents as well as rented parcels, so some grapes are sold to the local co-op or to négociants. The wines are made in the vineyard by pruning short, never using synthetic fertilizers, keeping the average age of the vines over 25 years old and keeping yields low. His wines are made in large capacity cement vats, each varietal is vinified separately and blended some 8 months later. The wines are not frequently racked and are not fined or filtered.
Richaud’s wines are said to be very popular in France, selling out almost immediately after release. I have read that sales at the estate’s tasting room account for the majority of all sales (though I find that difficult to believe). On a trip to Paris last September, we went to dinner at Le Gorille Blanc on our first night. They had Richaud’s ’07 Galets by the glass. I took that as a sign that it would be a great meal — and it was (a wine list can actually tell you a great deal about a restaurant). In the United States, it takes a little bit of work to find his wines. Chambers Street Wines in New York is one of the best bets, but I have also been pleasantly surprised to find some of his wine at Arrowine in Northern Virginia.
The 2006 Cairanne is a blend of 36% Grenache, 38% Mourvèdre, 18% Syrah and 8% Carignan. 70% is aged in cement tanks, the rest in barriques, some of them new. Deep purple in color. Aromatics of black cherry, violet and bubble gum with some garrigue, herb and spice. Lots of ripe fruit on the palate — black cherry, black raspberry with a little asphalt and cassis. Soft, smooth and velvety in the mouth. 14.5% alcohol. Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Another example of why Richaud produces some of my favorite wines in the $25 and under category from the Rhône valley, along with Domaine Gramenon and Les Aphillanthes. Recommended.