92 Insider Points

REVIEWS

This amazing wine from Clos du Caillou is absolutely delicious, showing crushed berries and a hefty dose of savory elements from the Syrah.  The grapes are sourced from entirely within the Châteauneuf Du Pape AOC, but this small vineyard refused to pay the mandatory taxes of the AOC and so remains a doughnut hole of Cotes du Rhone within the more prestigious Châteauneuf du Pape.  Black cherry, leather and tobacco on the nose, with cassis, blackberry and a gamey finish.  Perfect balance of tannin and acidity, this wine will do great at the dinner table with mushroom and meat driven dishes.  Drink now through 2022. - DZ Feb 2017

WHY WE'RE DRINKING IT
  • VARIETAL
    Red Blend
  • APPELLATION
    Rhone Valley, France
  • ALCOHOL
    14.00%
  • SIZE
    750ml

Sourced from Clos du Caillou’s own old Grenache vines, this 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. Excitingly, Grenache was on point in 2014. 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.

TASTING NOTES 

Deep purple in color with a nose suggesting spices, licorice and cooked red fruit. The palate is full bodied with elegant fruit intensity, some spice and harmonious tannins.

THE STORY TO KNOW

From robust Côtes-du-Rhône to memorable Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Clos du Caillou wines arguably represent some of the finest values in all of France. Proprietor Sylvie Vacheron and winemaker Bruno Gaspard are keeping the great work of the late Jean-Denis Vacheron alive with wines that are heady, robust and mouth-wateringly lush.

Caillou tends wonderfully old Grenache vines, some of which are 70 to 100 years old. With older Syrah and Mourvèdre added to the mix, it’s no wonder that Caillou wines are across the board impressive for their power, extract and deep minerality. The estate’s Châteauneuf terroir borders the impressive domaines of Chateau Rayas and Beaucastel.

Yet many of the Vacheron-Pouizin family's old vines are classified, by a quirk of 1923 politics, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages. It’s why our Côtes-du-Rhône barrel selections show surprisingly like its kin in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

In 1996 Jean-Denis Vacheron took full control of the viticulture and élévage at this estate. Under his stewardship, the wines of Caillou steadily gained stature, and today are benchmarks for the appellation. He understood that temperature-controlled fermentation and a cool, clean cellar are necessary to craft wines with refinement and true complexity.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

Pairs well with with beef, lamb or poultry.