92 Insider Points
90 Points- Wine Spectator
Very Good- Wine Advocate
Ahh, the Rhone. Classic French Flavors to Warm My Night.
Rhone wines are often a huge hit at my table, especially at this quality level. We've been featuring the wines of Clos du Caillou for about 3 years now, well before they were recognized in the market. Just last year, the winery started getting huge press points, finally getting what it deserved. Here, their Vielles Vignes is a perfect introduction to the brand, and an excellent revisit for those who have long been fans.
Soft violet flowers and red raspberry nose. Ripe earthy tones on the palate, showing black currant, fresh picked blackberry, cherry and forest leaves. Medium bodied with clay minerality. It has a long finish of earthy berries. Let breathe about 15 minutes for more of that yummy Old World essence. I recommend this for a fun Saturday night. This is getting shared with my girlfriend over a special dinner.
92 Points - JZ February '18
"An exclusive blend put together by North Berkeley Imports, the 2015 Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique features ripe cherries, leather, spice and cola notes, medium to full body and a crisp finish. It should drink well for up to 10 years from the vintage". - Wine Advocate
"Fleshy and inviting, with cherry paste and melted red licorice notes lined with lively tobacco and iron hints. A light mesquite element pervades the finish, adding length and range. Drink now. 1,200 cases made". - Wine Spectator
Côtes du Rhone, France
60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan
This is the new release of one "Amazing story from within CdP!"
Sourced from Clos du Caillou’s own old Grenache vines, this new vintage is impressive on many levels. Driven by 85% Grenache, our Tasting Panel experienced energy, elegance and optimal balance. Certain our Rhone fans will be as giddy as we are over this memorable Côtes-du-Rhône, we have to let you in on a little secret. This wine comes from the heart of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, although, it does not hold the official designation. If you check a map, you can see the “hole” in the middle of the famous appellation.
It is within this “hole” that Clos du Caillou’s bright and lively wines are sourced making them one of the best values France has to offer. Surprisingly, Caillou has kept their price point level with other wines designated Côtes-du-Rhône despite the fact their neighbors include the likes of Chateau Rayas and Beaucastel.
We must say that Proprietor Sylvie Vacheron and Winemaker Bruno Gaspard are doing an impressive job preserving the name of the late Jean-Denis Vacheron by creating wines that are intoxicating, powerful and mouth-wateringly rich. Additionally, this vintage has the structure to support some serious aging. Consider cellaring for a decade or more.
Reasons why we love it
This is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape in all but its name. Get it? Our Sourcing Team sure did! And that’s why we are able to bring you this unbelievable deal. Our biggest question has been: “Why is it not classified?” As it turns out when the government arrived to survey the land with the goal of including it in the first French wine region designated AOC, they were quickly made aware they were not welcome on the land which was to be maintained as a forested hunting preserve instead.
The estate’s storied history continued to the late 1990s where recognized wines have been produced ever since. The fruit-forward, well-balanced wines from the year really standout. And we believe this Côtes-du-Rhône is at the top of the list. Have a little patience and age it long enough to get the most for your palate.
Robert Parker explains: “I recognize that I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have this job, and the privilege of tasting so many incredible wines, but certainly the efforts produced by Domaine du Caillou since 1998 rank among the most exciting I have ever tasted.” We say, this vintage deserves to be bought by the case. You will want to revisit its luscious profile again and again.
Aromas of garrigue (wild thyme, lavender, and rosemary). Flavors of raspberry and black cherry.
Caillou wines are Rhône blends at their most intense. The wines stand out with their concentrated flavors, which are mouth-filling yet balanced. Other regional wineries try to achieve this balance, yet wind up with cloying, heavy wines with muted flavors.
Importantly, Caillou’s Côtes du Rhône vineyards are essentially the same, in terroir and exposition, as its Châteauneuf vineyards. This fact not only sets the estate’s wines above its peers in the region -- but also shows the high quality of our Rhône selections here, from top to bottom.
The focus on old-vine Grenache as the cornerstone of Caillou’s red blends showcases Grenache’s raspberry and red plum flavors. Warming yet never heavy, the wines share the signature southern Rhône aromas of lavender and incense.
This wine has enough structure to pair well with BBQ beef brisket or pork, grilled Argentine beef, and mesquite grilled or smoked baby back pork ribs. It also has a freshness and spice character that is a good match for Cuban roast chicken, pork with Latin spices and cracked pepper turkey.