TN: 01 Cayron [Gigondas]

01 Cayron [Gigondas] Served cool, unfortunately without decanting or standing up ahead of time, with duck stuffed crepes. The color is a murky garnet, with fine particulates. 14% abv, and feels big boned. This was purchased upon release, along with the 99 and 00, which were a fine trio of Gigondas. I remember thinking back then that the 99 was the best, with the 01 being specifically far too tannic. So it was put away, and the other years were drunk up in due course. I don’t know when this took off its tannic armor, as this is the first time revisiting it, but it has smoothed out its rough burrs. There is some beef blood and sneaker funk in its bouquet. Over a few hours, it also develops some spring flower aromas. It has a deep, long 45 second finish that keeps going, showing some pepper and plums. Lots of grenache typicity to this. Although I would not be able to tell the difference between this and a CNDP blind, this feels less silky and more rustic than its nearby neighbor. It’s a good prototype for showing what a mature, ripe vintage, southern village level Rhone should be. The season for these big chewy wines is coming to a close, but I’ve quite enjoyed this. I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. A-

PS: it seems like this estate has not been able to push their prices up much over the last decade or so.

had the 1991 a few weeks ago and it was singing.

Nice note. I’ve been on the passive lookout for CdP alternative and the lower cost alternative, plus the “more rustic” note on Gigondas over CdP, are some of the points that Gigondas can appeal to me with my quest for another Southern Rhone option.

As far as the last comment on stabilized low level of pricing, with the caveat that I don’t buy/drink enough of Gigondas, unlike CdP, I’ve not been aware of dramatic or steep price increases in these wines, Cayron or otherwise, over the last several years.

I keep hearing that Cayron has gone over to the dark side, but since I can’t find recent vintages of the wine it doesn’t matter.

I need to put a couple of cases total of '05 '07 and '10 up on Commerce Corner, I loved this in the late 80s and 90s but not my style now, recent vintages missing the rusticity and VA that made this interesting in a baby Pegau sort of way.

Yikes! Thanks for the update on the recent vintages.

Here’s the other thread where that issue was raised.

No, not the dark side. It’s still a traditionally made wine. It’s just very variable and generally not as good since the daughters took over. I think they may have been in charge in 00 and 01. And they have made some good wine since, but it has been up and down. To my knowledge, at least, though, they haven’t gone over to the high oak super-ripe style of many other Gigondas.

Which vintages would you recommend?

Hard for me to remember. Enough experience with wines I didn’t like so much made me stop paying attention. I think they did OK in 05, but I haven’t bought them, even when I’m staying there, since then at least, and haven’t bought them to age in the US since 01. My go-tos these days are Raspail-Ay and Gour de Chaulé. There are some others, but they are harder to find in the US, where the market seems to have been taken over by St. Cosme and Santa Duc, neither of which I am enamored of.

Thanks for the suggestions. As you note, St. Cosme and Santa Duc are easier to acquire for me, but I will look for the others.

I finished the last glass of the Cayron last night. It was extremely dark and cloudy. It looked like the organic unfiltered cherry juice that Whole Foods sells. If one was serving this to non wine geeks, or in the hospitality trade, I could see that being an issue.

I should have decanted it. Lesson learned!

I have enjoyed older Cayrons (I think 1994 is the oldest we’ve had). “Rustic” seems to sit very comfortably as a description - in a good way.

Now that fall is well advanced, it was time for another bottle of this. Half of this consumed last night, and again, I forgot to decant. A little VA on the entry, which blew off after a while. A couple of glasses over a few hours were very similar to the first experience at the cusp of spring. I should mention the bricking at the edges. Definitely love this way more than the inconsistent Tardieu Laurent Gigondas.

Very interesting, complexity and spiciness, with the rustic funk. I love what aging does for Rhones even more than what it does in Bordeaux. I just have much less aged Rhones, and its generally harder to find older ones here!

Not a bad stand in for Pegau at all.

Exactly, Stan. Before the new generation took over, I found it hard to differentiate Cayron from Pegau for the very reasons you mention. When I had lunch with Kermit Lynch last year he explained that when he used to visit the domaine they would explain the reasons for its wine having the depth and soul (I know some don’t like this term for wine, but I do) it did, but when the new generation took over they changed all of that. When that occurred, Kermit dropped the domaine. It took me a few years to track the wine down again, but eventually I did and purchased the 09 and 10 to sell. Sadly, they were a mere shadow of the wines from the 80s and 90s; no guts, no soul, just another another Grenache-based wine from the south. What a shame.

What were they consciously doing to get volatile acidity in their wines back then?

Arv, I recall that in the past the wines were fermented in old cement cuves, but that changed. A note by Jonathan Livingstone-Learmonth regarding the 2005 sums it all up: “Tidier and softer than the wild wine of yore from here, and I suppose I find myself wondering if more bite might make it more vibrant and arresting.”

I can’t imagine it was conscious. They were probably just less focused/concerned/attuned to VA. If they aged the wines longer in barrels or vats, that might have led to more VA. Also, as Martin suggests, if the switched to stainless steel fermenting tanks, they might more control over fermentation temperatures (although I thought concrete was supposed to be good at maintaining a fairly even temperature).

It sounds like L-L is talking about tannins and acid (“softer” … “more bite”), not VA.

Following up on this wine: the first rains of the season, and brisket and beets for supper. So the last bottle of the 01 Cayron was woken up. Strikingly similar notes to the last one - funky nose, VA on the palate, long finish. I suspect the rest of the bottle will be better tomorrow. Its strange to me how the prickly acidic edge did not resolve with age, but only after being opened. This bottle was maybe a B+ or so. Perhaps it’ll be better tomorrow.

It’s one old school, funky, unforgiving Rhone. Not for those who don’t like/expect that.

PS: added 24 hours after the first part of the post. VA blew off, fruit blossomed, and the funk lightened up a little. It’s very good and in this era has some Pegauness to it.

Perhaps because the fruit fleshes out with air? Or perhaps it was CO2 that dissipates with air?

I am a burghead but I had a 2006 of this last week and really enjoyed it.