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Perrin Châteauneuf for Co-op pays homage to Randall Grahm

Published:  30 June, 2021

Famille Perrin has produced a Châteauneuf du Pape exclusively for Co-op.

The Close Encounters Châteauneuf du Pape pays homage to Randall Grahm, who, back in 1984 was himself paying homage to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape when he released his blend of Rhône varietals called Le Cigare Volant – meaning flying cigar, or French slang for UFOs.

Eccentric Californian winemaker Grahm introduced his signature wine to kickstart the ‘American Rhône’ movement in 1980’s, as a tribute to the quirky, yet clearly effective by law that prohibits UFO’s from landing in the vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape.

Close Encounters Châteauneuf du Pape is a blend of the three principal Rhône varietals – Grenache, Syrah and Mourevedre. 

Launching in 400 Co-op stores this month, for £20, the name and label commemorate the 1954 mayoral decree which prohibited the landing of UFOs in the vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape.

“We are delighted to have ‘lift-off’ with such a fun and exciting project,” Ben Cahill, Co-op wine buyer.

“Exclusive to Co-op, it’s a respectful, if playful, nod to one of the great US winemakers from our friends at Famille Perrin – a serious wine which we think is out of this world.”

Marc Perrin, Famille Perrin, added: “Randall’s Le Cigare Volant was a pioneering reference and catalyst for all things Rhône in California. We accompanied this belief by establishing our own Tablas Creek winery in Paso Robles.

“As good friends, to mark this occasion with creativity, originality and general bonhomie we are over the moon to land this wine at the Co-op.”

Grahm recently featured in Harpers, talking about his Popelouchum project and his endless quest for terroir.