96 Insider Points
93-96 pts Jeb Dunnuck
93-95 pts Wine Advocate
Clos du Caillou delivers on every single bottling, top notch CDP!
Raise your hands if Clos du Caillou is your new faveorite S. Rhone Producer. The "les safres" is an amazing depiction of this special sandy terroir covered in cobblestones. This is still some of the highest quality grenache grapes on the planet just under the "La Reserve" and the "Les Quartz". For those of you who did not get a go at the 100 point reserve this gem will suffice, no worries. The 2015 Les Safres has intense aromas of berries, violets and lavender. The palate is laced with beautiful fresh/ripe berries and silky smooth tannins mingled with licorice and earth tones (this compacted sand is really undescribable, unique). There is not a ton of grip but it gracefully glides over the tongue. The signature for this wine is a toasty graham cracker crust component, delish. Drink now or hold (will peak in 8-10 years) for over 15 years. Excellent juice!
“Ripe, textured, and incredibly sexy, yet with building tannin...it's going to just sing on release, yet keep for 15+ years of more,” raves Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres delivers crisply defined cherry fruit, a richly tannic mid-palate and a long, focused, velvety finish. It looks likely to need a bit of cellaring but to be capable of aging up to two decades.
This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, "but better." ~Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, Oct 2017
95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, Vaccarèse and Cinsault
wooden tanks with wild yeasts
foudres and in demi-muids (larger-sized casks) for 14 months
The New king of the CDP! (Rare Bottling)
"We have been featuring the Le Clos du Caillou wines for almost five years now and it's no secret that they are one of our favorite producers. The Press finally caught up in the last three years and to say the winery has "taken off" would be severely understated! Reality is Le Clos du Caillou is far from a flashy winery, (nor do they want to be). Their notoriety has been solely based on their quality of juice. I mean look at the label; never judge a book by its cover."
The compacted sandy soils called les safres that run under this Clos du Caillou parcel lend their name to this single vineyard. Les Safres’ vines send their roots deep into the compacted sand soil and produce wines of breathtaking finesse. In this plot, the vines are generally 50 years of age and the clear majority is the legendary Grenache for which the region is famed. ‘Safres’ refers to the wine’s terroir of compacted sand, which in the wine translates as a supple texture and finesse. Sourced from the estate lieu-dit ‘Les Bedines,’ with its “safres” or compacted sand soil.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC | PRACTICING BIODYNAMIC
…this Estate continues to make polished, elegant wines that have a slight modern edge, while never losing their Provençal character. —The Wine Advocate
The Estate is located in Courthézon, in the northeastern part of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, and boasts a mix of terroirs with a predominance of sand, which gives Caillou wines their silky elegance and fine-grained texture. Importantly, the “clos,” or walled portion of the estate where vines for Côtes du Rhône wines are grown, shares the same terroir with Caillou’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards. The Estate has been practicing biodynamic viticulture since 2003, and was certified organic as of 2010.
(94-97WS) Rhone vintage: 2016 was warm during the day, but cool at night, with an unusually large diurnal swing, leading to slow, even ripening across all varietals while maintaining acidity. Reds are laden with fruit, yet extremely racy and fresh in feel; whites are pure, bristling with energy. A truly rare vintage. 2016 VINTAGE : An excellent cellaring potential.
This wine presents an attractive madder red color to the dark purple reflections. The nose is greedy with flavors of wild lilacs and notes of flowerbed and faded roses. The mouth is magnificent with a beautiful sweetness, a beautiful fineness of tannins with aromas of liqueur of licorice and peaches/cherry compote. A very pleasurable wine.
Wines from Le Clos du Caillou are Rhône blends at their most intense. Concentrated and richly textured, these organically raised, older-vine wines capture the spice and silk of old-vine Grenache grown on the region’s finest terroirs. Each wine too reflects the native perfumes of the south, the “garrigue” blend of thyme, rosemary and lavender that grows wild among the estate’s vines.
Of all the terroir in the Côtes du Rhône appellation, the “clos” of Caillou has to be one of the most exceptional. Completely surrounded by Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, this walled parcel of land was intentionally left out of the appellation by the owner, following a bureaucratic spat back in 1936. What this means today is that Caillou’s Côtes du Rhône wines are the qualitatively the same, with regard to terroir and exposition, as top Châteauneuf wines.
Caillou’s devotion to the character of the land (through bottling wines according to terroir) and its dedication to organic and biodynamic viticulture are what captivated us so many years ago when we first encountered these wines; and over the years, this fidelity to soil and soul has only intensified.
Go French Countryside, "get European with it": Grilled steak with pepper; game meats; boudin noir (French blood sausages). Herbs and pistachio nuts crusted rack of lambs – Salmi of pheasant – Hare à la Royale – Roasted woodcock in the bacon.