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L’Oratoire Saint Martin’s Haut Coustias Rouge 2020
08 November 2022

As we move in to cooler days and more pensive nights, we turn to a much-loved, comforting region: the Rhône Valley. One of our favourite wines of the lovely 2020 vintage in the Rhône was that of Domaine L’Oratoire Saint Martin. Haut Coustias is the estate’s top cuvee and is produced from a blend of old parcels at the top of the slope in clay-limestone soils. Standing in this steep, windswept vineyard overlooking the vast plains of the Plan de Dieu it comes as no surprise that the Oratoire wines have a deep sense of character and heart. Majority Grenache with some Mourvedre and a touch of Syrah, the 2020 is backboned, firm but fresh, and full of intense, complex, structured fruit. Though young, certainly, a good decant brings a lavish perfume to the fore – and in any case, 2020 as a vintage deftly balances richness with openness, which is why we love it so much.

Domaine de l’Oratoire Saint-Martin is an historical vineyard in Cairanne of 25 hectares, and farmed according to organic and biodynamic standards. Cultivated for ten generations by the Alary family, the estate has reached iconic status in the region largely thanks to the work of brothers Frédéric and François Alary who took over the running of the estate in 1984. In the summer of 2020, the Alary family finally had to relinquish the property and, looking to ensure the continuity of this great Southern Rhône estate, chose Château Mont-Redon as their preferred buyer. Pierre Fabre of Mont-Redon is committed to the same farming and production principles that have given these wines cult status. With its steep slopes of yellow and blue clay soils (with a high active limestone percentage) this north-eastern part of Cairanne can truly be considered one of the Southern Rhône’s stand out regions. From bud to bottle, every step of this wine-growing process is designed to highlight the outstanding terror of this part of the Rhône. These wines have a real sense of place. They are alive, clear, and drinkable. They age famously well, too.

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