Cairanne is the most recent example of the evolution of a wine from Côtes du Rhône (1953) to Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne (1967) and finally to Cru (only the red) In 2016. With close to 1,000 hectares of classified vineyards, the production of red wine predominates (94% in 2013) here too. A minimum of 50% grenache noir and at least 20% syrah and/or mourvèdre is the rule of thumb, while other approved varieties can account for no more than 20%. More or less the same applies to the rosé, which can however be blended with a maximum of 20% of other varieties.
The white wines from Cairanne, which, like the rosé, do not have cru status are in fact allowed to use all Rhône grape varieties. The average yield is 35 hl/ha, thanks to the quality-conscious, small independent producers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Cairanne cooperative, although here too quality has improved in recent years. This is a trend that many cooperatives in the South Rhône have followed.
The appellation has three types of terroir:
- chalky, white clay: a relatively cold soil that produces robust, powerful wine with considerable tannin
- red clay: the wines here are easier to drink when they are young and offer a wide range of aroma and taste nuances.
- clay-like soil: grown on the terraces of the Aygues, these are the most supple wines; they have an attractive roundness but less character.
The most interesting vineyards are situated on the southern slope, where there is more diversity in the soil and they are cooled by the mistral.