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Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux

Gigondas La Tour Sarrasine

Intense garnet in colour. Exuberant nose of black fruits, wild herbs and graphite. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, the sweet ripe fruit is beautifully balanced by a lovely minerality that is derived from the limestone soils. The tannins are finely grained and the finish is excellent. Best enjoyed after 4 years and can drunk up to 10 years from the vintage date.

Style: Red

Grape varieties:70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre.

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Red Wine Grape Varieties

Southern Rhône wines are almost always blended around Grenache to bring balance, complexity and richness of aroma to the wines. Thirteen varietals are permitted. The main varieties are:

Grenache – Medium ruby colour and high alcohol. Delightfully fruity (red fruits) in youth, spice: prune notes with age. Medium dry tannins that soften with age.

Syrah – Deep colour with purple shades. Very tight but velvety tannins giving good ageing potential. Violet and/ or black fruit aromas. With age the aromas evolves towards wild aromas of leather, truffle, and towards liquorice

Mourvèdre – Dark brick red, high tannin brings additional ageing quality to the blend. Sometimes animal notes in its youth become fruity (dark berries, leather, undergrowth, pine, liquorice) and spicy with age.

Cinsault – High proportion in Rosé. Elegant, fruity aromas, light colour and tannin (in reds).

White Wine Grape Varieties

Grenache Blanc – Low acidity giving smoothness and length on the palate with floral aromas and notes of apple and pear.

Clairette – Brings acidity and freshness to the blend. Floral, complex aromas of rose and acacia with notes of white peach and exotic fruit.

Roussanne – Brings finesse and delicacy and a great deal of elegance. Good acidity in the northern Rhône enabling the wine to age well. Complex aromas of honeysuckle with touches of apricot, hawthorn or narcissus.

Bourboulenc – Brings good acidity to the blend. Floral aromas.

Marsanne – Medium acidity, with high aromatic potential in young wines. Complex and subtle floral aromas of acacia, dried fruit and nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut).

Viognier – Medium colour with low acidity and very fruity (pear) in the Southern Rhône. In the Northern Rhône, it brings suppleness and smoothness. Great aromatic potential – acacia, honeysuckle, violet, almond blossom, linden, and with age, musk, honey and dried apricot.

Terroir: South facing slopes at 450 metre of altitude. Heavy broken limestone soils with some sand and clay.

Oak: None

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Oak Flavours

The vast majority of wines in the Southern Rhône are aged in neutral tanks such as concrete and stainless steel in order to preserve the delightful fruity characteristics of Grenache. Where oak is used, it is often only used for a proportion of the blend. The majority of wines in the Northern Rhône however, are aged in oak.

The amount of oak flavour in the wine depends on:

  • The size of the barrel – Less surface area in contact with the wine = less oak flavour
  • The age of the barrel – Less oak is imparted in each subsequent wine.
  • The level of charring (“toast”) and type of oak used by the cooper

The following classifications are used for wines listed on this website:

No Oak – The wine is aged in neutral vats or large, old oak barrels that impart no oak flavours. These wines will be fruit-forward and bright in their early years.

Light Oak – Oak flavours are present but do not dominate the wine when young. The wine may only be partly aged in smaller oak barrels and/or the barrels may have been used for one to three prior wines.

Prominent Oak – Oak flavour is a noticeable feature of the wine, particularly when young. Oak also imparts oak tannins into the wine which can increase the ageing potential of the wine, thus allowing the wine to develop complex aromas over many years.

Drinking time: 3 to 10 years

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Drinking Time

The majority of everyday wines are produced to be drunk within a year, or two of their vintage date. Fine wines that demonstrate a balanced acidity and good tannin structure have the ability to be aged over many years. Oak flavours and red wine tannins soften with age, which allow more complex aromas to develop. Deciding when to drink a fine wine is very much a matter of personal taste. You should drink the wine earlier in its life if you prefer its fruity (“primary”) aromas, accepting that tannins and any oak flavours will be more prominent when the wine is young.

Reviews: JD 92 pts, WE 91 pts

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Reviews

The ratings of leading reviewers are listed here with their written comments detailed at the bottom of the page.

Remember that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Each wine reviewer has personal tastes and, as hard as they try, preferences can be reflected in the numerical score a reviewer gives to a wine. This is why is important to read their comments rather than judge a wine by its numerical score.

JR = Jancis Robinson. Score out of 20 points.
RP = Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Score out of 100 points.
JD = Jeb Dunnuck. Score out of 100 points.
WS = Wine Spectator. Score out of 100 points.
W&S = Wine and Sprits. Score out of 100 points.
WE = Wine Enthusiast. Score out of 100 points.
VM = Vinous Media. Score out of 100 points.
JS= James Suckling. Score out of 100 points.

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Producer profile

Domaine Clos des Cazaux has been growing wine for five generations and is based on two families, the Vaches and the Archimbauds. The domaine is now run by two brothers, Jean-Michel and Frédéric Vache.

Their ancestor, Gabriel Archimbaud was the first to bottle wine in Vacqueyras. Gabriel participated in establishment of the Côtes du Rhône appellation in 1936. Gabriel was also a friend of Jean-Louis Chave (famous for his iconic Hermitage reds from Syrah in the Norther Rhône) and Gabriel looked to find best place to plant syrah on his property. He opted for the more clay-dominated soils that were less hot than the sand or marne. Before World War Two the domaine was a mixed farm and also grew asparagus, apricots, cherries.

Gabriel created Le Clos des Cazaux in 1936 with 20ha around the farm (le Clos). Gabriel’s sons, Maurice & Jean purchased 40ha wood and 3 ha vines in Gigondas on the south-facing side of the Dentelles in 1954. Today the domaine cultivates 48 ha (122 acres), of which 24 ha are in Vacqueyras, 20 ha are in Gigondas and 4 ha are in Côtes du Rhône.

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The majority of the Vacqueyras vines are situated on slopes around the domaine. This is in contrast to the mainly flat vineyards of the rest of the Vacqueyras appellation. In addition, the sandy clay soils allows for the production of very fresh white wines. Indeed, Clos des Cazaux was one of a handful of producers to pioneer the cultivation of the Clairette grape in the appellation and is now one of the largest producers of white wine in Vacqueyras. The “Clefs d’Or” cuvée is wonderfully fresh and ideal as an aperitif or with light fish dishes. The Vieilles Vignes Vacqueyras cuvée, aged in oak, is a stunning, gourmet white wine which can age many years. The two Vacqueyras red wines are fermented in stainless steel and aged in concrete with no use of oak. The “St Roch” cuvée is a classic grenache-dominated wine boasting wonderful red fruits aromas with a tannic structure that demands provencal food. The “Templiers” cuvée is more orientated towards Syrah with greater tannin, though still silky, even in its youth. The Gigondas terroir is located on the small section of the appellation that is south facing which brings riper, bigger fruit than is generally found in the other wines of the appellation. Cazaux’s Gigondas soils are very high in limestone content which underpin a great mineral edge to their two cuvées. The Prestige cuvée made from old vines is partially aged in oak which provides additional complexity without over-powering the expression of terroir in the wine.
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Wine reviews

Jeb Dunnuck (JD)

2017 vintage (92 points): The Gigondas La Tour Sarrasine always seems to be a winner and the 2017 is no exception. With a big, meaty, peppery nose that has ample cedary spice and sweet red and black fruits, it’s medium to full-bodied, has a wonderful sweetness of fruit, ripe tannins, and terrific balance. It’s rock solid and will shine of upwards of a decade. The blend is 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and 15% Syrah, aged two years in concrete and stainless steel.

Wine Enthusiast (WE)

2017 vintage (91 points): Smoky tones on the nose dissipate with aeration revealing brighter notes of ripe, zesty black berry and wild mint. Full bodied and rich on the palate, this Grenache-dominant blend offers punchy black-cherry flavor edged by a sizzle of sweet spice. At peak from 2021 through 2027, the wine can hold further.

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