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Le Clos du Caillou Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc Reserve 2016
- Great Domaines
all ratings out of 100 points.
"This wine presents a beautiful yellow ivory dress on yellow Nankin reflections. The nose is on lightly toasted aromas, associated to the aromas of orange and crystallized melon. The mouth presents aromas of cooked apple, carpaccio of wild peach with notes of licorice and Zan." - Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate
95 % Clairette rose - 5 % Grenache Blanc
2017 - 2022
aged in used demi-muids
Vineyards & vinification:
A blended wine from the Côtes-du-Rhône, made from 50 year old wines. Farming is done through the use of biodynamic principles. Fermented using indigenous yeasts.
Travel to the commune of Courthézon in the AOC of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and right on the border you’ll find the estate of Le Clos de Caillou. Once a lodge dedicated to hunting, it has but 9 hectares allowed to be named as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 8 of which consist of Grenache. Many of its vines bear the “wrong” classification because in the 1930’s, the owner stood at his gate, literally with rifle in hand, refusing to be surveyed by Appellation-Controlée authorities. As such, the majority of the vines (44 hectares in total) are classified below their weight as either Côtes-du-Rhône or Côte-du-Rhône-Villages. This is good news for wine drinkers, who can pick up a “pretend Châteauneuf-du-Pape” wine for near the price of a Côtes-du-Rhône.
The estate was bought by the Pouizin family in 1956, who mainly focussed on selling bulk wine to local traders. Still somewhat of a black sheep in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, classification of the Côte-du-Rhône and the Côte-du-Rhône-Villages has not been changed since the 1930’s stand-off. Claude Pouizin ran the property from 1956 until 1996, before handing the management over to his daughter Sylvie and her husband Jean-Denis Vacherons.
Today Sylvie works on her own, after the sudden passing of Jean-Denis in 2002 in a car accident. She has sought help from much respected winemaker Bruno Gaspard and oenologist Phillipe Cambie. The vineyards were recently certified as biodynamic, in 2010. The style of their wines, along with value for money, meant that it wasn’t long before markets such as the US caught on.
Their wines are characterised by their pure fruit and a smooth, velvety texture. It’s rare that a wine of this quality comes along at such a price.