Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres 2016
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.
Pair with pie of wood pigeon or Ballotine of roe deer in blueberries.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Sourced from the lieu-dit of Les Bédines, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres is 95% Grenache, with the remainder being a mix of other permitted varieties. Like the other wines from Le Clos du Caillou, it shows great intensity and purity. Flowering garrigue accents black cherry fruit in this full-bodied, fresh, vibrant and intense wine, which ends with a burst of bright orange zest and waves of silky tannins.
The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres comes from more sandstone soils and is mostly Grenache. Spice strawberries, kirsch, dried herbs, flowers, and ample sandy, stony notes all emerge from this fleshy, medium to full-bodied, structured wine that has the classic weightless texture of the estate. This beauty has an exotic edge as well as a distinct salinity and is the finest version of this cuvée to date.
Hints of bramble, anise and cinnamon accent juicy black cherry and plum in this charming yet seductive wine. Made from 95% Grenache (with small proportions of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault) sourced from sandy soils, it’s supple and soft yet deeply penetrating on the palate. Tannins are ripe and finely edged, lending approachability in youth but the persistence to improve through 2026. North Berkeley Imports. Editors’ Choice
Immense, seamless depth. Alluring, fresh, dark-plum, spice and chocolate aromas and flavors. The tannins are immaculately plush, long and even. Superb. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2020.
There are places around the Clos du Caillou winery where the safres are up to 50m deep, and this Grenache wine with a tiny infusion of Mourvèdre, Vaccarèse and Cinsault comes from vineyards on this soil type alone, sited in the Bédines lieu-dit. The same winery’s ‘Quartz’ cuvée comes from vineyards in the little island of Cassanets, an appellation zone detached from the main part of Châteauneuf, with both safres and galets roulés. This wine is made from destemmed fruit at present, but stems will be used in the future. After a 30-day maceration period, it’s aged in foudres or older demi-muids. The wine is clear and limpid in colour, and despite its youth the aromas are already mellow and harmonious, with finely detailed notes of black raspberry, garrigue, lavender, lemon zest and lemon blossom. On the palate the wine has the dramatic concentration and poise so typical of this outstanding vintage. Its vibrant flavours are underwritten by juicy acidity and bright cherry and raspberry fruit, supported by soft, supple tannins which complete the mouthfilling effect.
Drinking Window 2019 - 2029
This delivers a pure and expressive beam of raspberry and plum coulis flavors, guided by a light hand of red licorice and backed by perfumy rooibos tea and incense notes on the silky finish. Drink now through 2030.
—Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
From robust Côtes-du-Rhône to memorable Chateauneuf-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 Chateauneuf 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 Chateauneuf-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.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.