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Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2017

£13.00 (75cl)

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SKU: RHCA0017C

About the wine

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Description

60-year-old vines grown on sandy soils. Pre-ferment maceration. Cuvaison of 24-30 days in concrete vats with rémontage and délestage. Aged in concrete vats.

Tasting note

This wine presents an attractive glittering red colour to the Andrinople red tint. On the nose, it has some aromas of black fruits and cacao beans notes mixed with to the Zan in the violet and to the Ente plums. The mouth is smooth, with supple tannins on aromas of black fruits and licorice cream.

About the producer

Le Clos du Caillou is ideally located in the commune of Courthézon. The entire estate comprises 44 hectares of Côtes du Rhône, and 9 hectares of Châteauneuf du Pape. Le Clos has the distinction of being located within the boundary of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, yet is classified as Côtes du Rhône. Formerly a hunting reserve, the then owner in 1936 refused to have his estate classified by the official regional governing body. Thus, the Clos was not included in the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. To this day, the Clos du Caillou remains an enclave within this world-renowned wine zone.

The total vineyard holdings (at an average age of over 50 years) comprise Grenache (80%), Syrah (9%), Mourvèdre (5%), Cinsault (1%), Counoise (1.5%), Carignan (2.5%) and Muscardin (1%), as well as Clairette Rose (32%), Grenache Blanc (27%), Roussanne (24%), Clairette (9%), Viognier (6%) and Bourboulenc (2%).

The soil types include sand on a marl sub soil in ‘Les Cailloux’ and ‘Les Cassanets’, making for one of the most interesting terroirs of the appellation. It has the advantage of excellent drainage, thus allowing the grapes to ripen more quickly than in the stonier, pebbly sites. The wines from these soils are characterized by their finesse, elegance, supple tannins and generally are very Burgundian in style. The other key soil type is the famous ‘galets roulés’, especially on the hillsides. The presence is most obvious in ‘Les Cassanets’ and ‘Les Garrigues’ in the Côtes du Rhône.

This terroir is composed of Miocène marine deposits covered by galets, evidence of the past presence of the river Rhône. The galets have a beneficial effect on the quality of the grapes, as they store heat during the day and release it slowly overnight. All vines are tended with the utmost respect for nature: organic treatments only are used, as well as natural composts. Regular ploughing is carried out without the use of herbicides or phytosanitary treatments. Sulphur and copper usage is kept to a minimum. The grapes are harvested exclusively by hand and are sorted carefully before they arrive at the cellar. Vinifications are often preceded by a cold maceration over several days. The red wines are partially or totally destemmed. Fermentation and maceration undergoes manual punching down and pumping over. The wines are then aged in casks and demi-muids for 15 to 18 months in naturally cool underground cellars (13-15°C).

Sylvie Vacheron currently runs this fine estate, helped by the gifted winemaker Bruno Gaspard, producing rich and very expressive Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées alongside consultant Philippe Cambie. The literally “larger than life” Philippe is considered the best oenologist in the Southern Rhône and with his advice, the quality of the estate’s wines has greatly progressed. The unsung hero in Clos du Caillou’s portfolio is the ‘Bouquet des Garrigues’: with the feel and style of Châteauneuf du Pape, it is clearly not a straightforward Côtes du Rhône by any means



Jeb Dunnuck (jebdunnuck.com):

Moving to the 2017s, this will be another great vintage at this address. The 2017 Côtes du Rhône Les Caillou offers a lighter ruby color as well as loads of red fruits (strawberries and cherries), hints of dried flowers, and a medium-bodied, elegant profile on the palate. It’s as drinkable as it gets. (Jeb Dunnuck) 'le caillou' Points: 88. Date Tasted: 28/08/2018

Regions Vintage Report:

“After two exceptional vintages it’s difficult to believe that 2017 could match up to let alone deliver wines of similar quality. The styles though are different, with richer and often riper fruit in the North the wines are fuller than 2016 without the high concentration and balance of 2015. The South is another story, with once again a large deficit in volume, particularly for the Grenache. The season was quite warm and dry resulting in very low yields, sometimes up to 50% down. The North A relatively hot and dry vintage often resulting richer whites across the board, with the best producers managing to retain enough freshness and acidity for conveyance, for the majority these will be best consumed in youth. The reds are more of a mixed crew with some wines approaching the maturity and intensity of the 2015s, whilst others are more forward with softer tannins providing an earlier drinking window. The best producers harvested their whites early to keep the freshness but the reds much later to intensify the concentration and gain in complexity, especially for the tannin structure. The South The year started awkwardly with large amounts of “coulure” for the Grenache with the rest of the season not much easier, with a very dry summer reducing the crop further. The result is still very impressive and not too far from the highly lauded 2016 vintage. The wines are often very concentrated and, even if the acidity is a little low, the result is very impressive. Given the quality of 2017 it could have been considered as the vintage of the decade, but 2016 is still present in our minds and will be difficult to replace from the top of the pedestal. Many wines are very close in quality to the previous two vintages and I don’t think that we will see 3 successive star vintages like these for a while, furthermore 2018 is looking promising too although much more uneven between producers and appellations. The less precocious appellations fared best especially on soils less exposed to dry weather. In short, 2017 is another superb vintage if it was not for the very low volume produced.Christian Honorez, Director November 2018©adVINture 2020

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