Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2007
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
Of the three top Châteauneuf cuvées from this exacting estate, "Reserve" is its most seductive and certainly its most sought after, given how few bottles are produced (and only in the best years.) It gets its velvety texture and supple core from the sandy soils of the estate's two vineyards, "Guigasse" and "Bédines," located just behind the estate's "clos." Its midnight-purple robe reminds us why this color historically was reserved for royalty. A wine that will practically strike you dumb with its concentrated core of black fruit; yes, you may have to lick the glass on this one. A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre, aged in a combination of new and older demi-muid.
The Wine Advocate - "Domaine du Caillou’s top cuvee is always the Chateauneuf du Pape Clos du Caillou Reserve, and the 2007 boasts a dense purple color as well as an exquisite perfume of graphite, camphor, black currants, black cherries, raspberries, and notions of licorice and smoke providing additional complexity. This dense, full-bodied Clos du Caillou possesses exquisite equilibrium, flawless integration of acidity, tannin, and wood, and a sumptuous, full-bodied finish with no hard edges. That said, the tannins are elevated, and this wine begs for 2-5 years of bottle age. It should age effortlessly for 25 years thereafter. A reminder: the 1998, the first great vintage of this cuvee, is still a young wine at age 10.
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque purple. A head-spinning bouquet displays potent blackberry, boysenberry, pipe tobacco, garrigue, incense and mineral qualities. Velvety, palate-staining dark berry flavors are sweetened by notes of cola and candied licorice, with a strong whiplash of minerals on the back end. The dark berry-suffused finish is utterly seamless. A blend of 70% grenache and 30% mourvedre. 95-98"
Clos Du Caillou Winery
"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."
—Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
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. View all Clos Du Caillou Wines
About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)Southern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Notable FactsThere are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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