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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Better than Chateauneuf Blanc: Alary Cairanne Blanc

I love good white Chateauneuf du Pape, but goodness are they expensive. Unfortunately, there are not many alternatives, as less expensive southern Rhone white wines don't typically have the same intensity, texture and minerality. The Alary family are pioneers in the Cairanne AOC, and they take their white wines very seriously. We just received the 2021 vintage of their top white wine, and I can't remember the last time I have been so excited about a southern Rhone white under $40... probably the last vintage we had of this wine!

Domaine Alary Cairanne Blanc 'L'Estevenas' 2021 - $24

The nose is primary, but delicate and complex nonetheless, featuring notes of green pear, melon, crunchy nectarine, lemon candy, white flowers, fennel, raw almonds, as well as hints of wet stones and mild young sheep's milk cheese. Juicy and silky on the palate, there's a gorgeous core of ripe fresh fruit and a deep acid line. Crisp and fresh through the finish; subtle fruit skin bitterness, and notes of fennel, ginger, and almond linger beyond the juiciness, but it is a remarkable shimmering mineral quality that shines longest. This will be worth following at least a few years, maybe much longer.

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