Grape varieties:50 % Clairette, 30 % Roussane, 20 % Grenache blanc
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).
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: Slopes consisting of sandstone and Miocene marl facing South-East.
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 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: 1 to 5 years
Reviews: JD 91 Pts (2020 vintage). See below
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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Jeb Dunnuck (JD)
2020 vintage (91 points): Subtle honeyed pineapple, exotic tropical fruits, and a touch of mint all emerge from the 2020 Vacqueyras Les Clefs D’Or Blanc, an outstanding white based on 50% Clairette, 30% Roussanne, and 20% Grenache Blanc. Medium-bodied on the palate, it has a terrific sense of freshness, good overall balance, and a clean, crisp finish that will keep it versatile on the dinner table.
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 created Le Clos des Cazaux in 1936.
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. 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.