Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Old and New from le Clos du Caillou

Old and New from le Clos du Caillou

Both of these wines are produced by the le Clos du Caillou domaine owned by the Pouizin-Vacheron family. The name of the Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape wines differ not due to a naming hierarchy but rather history. Back in the 1930s the former estate Le Clos was a hunting lodge. The owner refused to allow court-appointed officials on to the estate who were setting out the boundaries of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. As a result much of the property is still classified as Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Villages and is in an actual clos or walled vineyard. In 1956 the Pouizin family acquired the lodge, cleared the woodlands, and planted vineyards. These vines are amazingly 500 meters from Chateau Rayas. Wine produced from the 44 hectares of Cotes du Rhone vineyards are thus named le Clos du Caillou whereas wine from the 9 hectares of Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are named Domaine du Caillou. In 1995 Claude Pouizin’s daughter Sylvie and her husband Jean-Denis Vacheron took over the estate. Jean-Denis tragically died in 2001 so Sylvia continued to produce wine with the previously hired consulting oenologist Philippe Cambie. The Cuvee Reserve was first produced in 1998 and includes Grenache from Le Guigasse planted in 1930 and Syrah from Les Bedines planted in 1939. The Cuvee Unique refers to the fact it was barrel selected by North Berkeley Imports.

It might be a romantic suggestion to link the profiles of these two wines together for the aromas were scented, the flavors a bit firm, and though fuller bodied, they are not overbearing. They are both good wines for the money, just decide if you want a young wine or an old wine. The Bouquet des Garrigues is a new arrival whereas the Cuvee Unique was purchased from a private cellar. These bottles were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 le Clos du Caillou, Bouquet des Garrigues, Cotes du Rhone – $19
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Carignan, Mourvedre, and Cinsault sourced from a majority of vines over 50 years of age. It was fermented in concrete vats followed by 16 months of aging in used oak casks. Alcohol 14.5%. The color was a light to medium grapey purple. The nose is lovely with fresh red berries and floral aromas. In the mouth the fresh berry fruit follows the nose but turns blacker and firmer with air. There was some watering acidity and fine drying tannins in the finish. Hard acidity came out in the aftertaste along with violets and a racy aspect. *** Now-2018.


1998 Domaine du Caillou, Vieilles Vignes, Cuvee Reserve, Cuvee Unique, Chateauneuf du Pape – $35
Imported by North Berkeley Imports. This cuvee is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 20%Syrah which saw extensive time on the skins followed by aging in foudres. This selection was barrel selected by the importer. Alcohol 14%. The nose was blacker with scented aromas of roast earth and Kirsch. The mouth follows the nose with chiseled fruit. The flavors are stone-like ungiving but with air they become gently expansive in the mouth taking on some ripeness and a hard wood note. Jenn found coffee amongst the dark flavors. There acidity is good and there are some astringent tannins in the aftertaste. *** Now-2028.


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