Cairanne produces many of the best wines made in the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages AOC, and Marcel Richaud has been a pioneer of natural winemaking on Cairanne terroir.
From a very young age, Marcel was passionate about viticulture and winemaking, and dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to study viticulture. He always felt a special energy in the vineyard, and believed that his life was in Cairanne, that wine from the region could be something special, and that he was destined to be the one to make it.
Today, Marcel farms 55 hectares of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Shiraz vines atop a range of low hills, with perfect sun exposure and slightly cooler temperatures than the lower plain (Plan de Dieu), which experiences extreme heat. This domain is partly his vineyard (which he inherited from his parents), and partly his neighbour’s land, which he rents.
Marcel has been following organic process for almost 40 years, and his production methods are certified Biologique by Ecocert. Through his winemaking, Marcel pays reverence to his grapes and the beautiful terroir from which they stem. In the winery, he has experimented with pigéage, remontage, carbonic maceration, oak, cement, stainless steel, and more, but believes that what really makes great wine is the soil structure, the yields, the age of the vines, and that if left unrestrained by sophisticated vinification techniques, these elements will allow the terroir of a region to be beautifully expressed.
As an advocate and member of the Association des Vins Naturels, Marcel believes that real wine should see no chemical treatment, filtering, commercial yeasts, or other techniques that would specifically alter a wine.
Along with Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Shiraz—which he blends to allow for a greater level of balance and finesse—he grows 10% Cinsault and 15% of various local varietals. In the winery, each grape is vinified individually, before being blended about eight months later.