Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2017
This wine presents a beautiful red Vermeil color on Amarante refections. The nose is on delicate notes of a multitude of spices and on red flesh fruits. The mouth is smooth, elegantly marked by silky tannins, where we found aromas of liqueur of stone fruits and strawberry, highlighted by sweet spices, light tobacco, cloves, Sichuan and Madagascar pepper. This wine is marked by the magnificent length
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In case readers were wondering, it is possible to be disappointed by a wine that rates "only" 97 points. I had such high hopes for the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape La Reserve after tasting it last year, but this year the bottled wine is only extraordinary, not potentially perfect. Hints of cedar and vanilla from aging in 20% new demi-muids accent ripe black cherries in this full-bodied, silky-textured but concentrated wine that once again manages to combine richness with airiness, power with elegance and features a finish that lingers while being refreshing at the same time. It's still a major-league contender for wine of the vintage.
More closed, yet still loaded with potential, the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Reserve offers a tight, reserved bouquet of cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with ample spice box, mineral, and meaty notes developing with time in the glass. Full-bodied, concentrated, and straight on the palate, it has beautiful depth and richness, yet needs 4-5 years of bottle age.
—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, Chateauneuf-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 Chateauneuf-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 Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. 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.