You won’t find Le Clos du Caillou on a map of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s not an error. In 1895, the château launched as a hunting club with no interest in winemaking. When government experts dropped by to survey the land for inclusion within Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1936, they were greeted with drawn shotguns. The experts got off the lawn and literally drew a blank. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir is immediately evident in the 2015 Le Clos du Caillou Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Cuvée Unique with its effortless power, concentrated intensity, and layered fruit. Hit “Buy” and delight in this ‘should be Chateauneuf” remarkable value, and dare we say, gulpable — old vine Rhône red.
Wine Spectator blessed Southern Rhône’s 2015 harvest with an early rating of 94-97 points. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate was even more robust in its adoration, proclaiming the vintage “a treasure trove for the actual wine drinkers out there.” A bold statement — especially if you’re looking for more “drink-now” beauties while your “hold” stash continues to slumber.
The hunters stood their ground, but didn’t realize they stood on hallowed ground. While the property is a baby compared to its neighbors — the Pouzin family brought the château into the wine business in 1955 — it’s surrounded by vineyards cultivated by Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s top producers for generations. That hunting ground sat atop the same clay, sand, and galets roules-driven soil that’s become famous the world over.
This encompassing terroir gives the 2015 Le Clos du Caillou its soul. Winemaker Bruno Gaspard and his team hand-harvest the red blend’s melange of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan grapes from vines averaging 45 years in age and exclusively deploy biodynamic techniques once sourced.