Belles Lettres Cairanne is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, carefully crafted to create a full-bodied Southern Rhône Red wine. It is a 2019 vintage formed from the most famous grapes in the Rhône Valley and was recently launched into the market by the French winemaker, Julien Dugas.
Julien Dugas is ‘the other half’ of Domaine Boutinot Winery, as he works closely with Eric Monnin to drive the quality and style of their ‘Fide et Arte’ range of wines. Dugas permanently resides in Cairanne, France, describing himself as ‘a man on the ground’ as he values the importance of remaining close to the starting point of his wines. He spends any available day out of the winery in the vines with his growers, keeping in close contact with the grapes right at the source. He says that this is key to the formation of fantastic wines. The phrase ‘Fide et Arte’, which means ‘trust and skill’, is a motto for The Boutinot Wines range which you could say perfectly represents the nature of Dugas as a wine producer. Not only is he passionate about winemaking, but he is also intensely qualified with skill in the industry. You can draw this conclusion from his new range of Belles Lettres wines which is essentially a love letter to fine art and writing.
The name ‘Belles Lettres’, originates from a category of writing, particularly known as beautiful or fine writing. Dugas handpicked this phrase for his new range of wines to shed a light on the way in which he creates his wines. He wanted his wines to resonate with beauty and capture the French culture of winemaking. A writer of Belles Lettres is often referred to as a ‘Belletrist’. This makes Julien Dugas a storyteller in disguise, as he uses his wealth of knowledge and skill to build a narrative of the Rhône through this range of fruity and flavorful Cotes du Rhône wines.
The labels are inspired by ornate book covers and bring together the name and theme of the wine. The Palais des Papes in Avignon is also an integral influence towards the design of the unique wine labels. This building in particular housed the papal library, the largest library in Europe at the time with a collection of over 2000 volumes of authentic books. It is also said to have been a formal meeting place for groups of clerics that were passionate about Belles Lettres. This is where Dugas drew his inspiration from for his label design.
But the real question is, what does it taste like? Well, Belle Lettres Cairanne possesses exquisite notes of black fruit and red cherry with a hint of caramel, oak and vanilla. It has a smooth and supple finish with an aroma of wild berries and subtle spice. With its origins belonging in a Mediterranean climate, this makes the Rhône Valley one of the warmest wine growing regions in France. Its thriving grape varieties are not to be missed, with its inclusive pricing making it a consumer-friendly wine to explore.