Marcel Richaud is largely responsable for putting Cairanne, one of the best terroirs in the vast
Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages designation, on the map.
Richaud comes from a vine growing family who historically sold grapes to the local cave
cooperative, a time when being a cooperator was very prosperous. So it came as a shock when 17
year old Marcel told his father he wanted to become a vigneron indépendant. This was
incomprehensible and felt very risky; in his father’s eyes there was nothing to gain other than more
work and less pay. Undeterred, Marcel started with 14 hectares of his aunt’s vines, producing his
first vintage at 19 years old in a dilapidated cellar with no roof. He quickly made a name for himself
in the nascent Parisian natural wine scene of the early 90’s and eventually began incorporating his
father’s cooperative vines into his eponymous production.
Today, Marcel is retired and the estate is run by his children Thomas, Claire and Edith. The estate
has grown to a sizeable 80 hectares over the years, a combination of Marcel progressively recouping
family vineyards from the cooperative and purchasing land; about 40 hectares come from the family
and the other 40 have been purchased or planted since the 1980’s.
The focus is on harvesting a healthy and ripe crop, with the wines made in large cement vats, each
varietal vinified apart until a blend is done about eight months later. In 2000, a cellar was built of
yellow sandstone blocks (from the Pont du Gard quarry), permitting for casks and barriques to be
incorporated into the winemaking. Vinifications occur with native yeasts and without any additions
of S02. The wines are never fined or filtered, and only a small amount of sulfur is added at bottling.
- Bulbille – Counoise/Grenache/Syrah
- Terre d’Aigles – Syrah/Grenache/Carignan
- Cairanne – Grenache/Mourvèdre/Syrah/Carignan
- Premieur – Cinsault/Grenache/Mourvèdre/Syrah – full carbonic