Grape varieties: 75% Grenache; 25% Mourvèdre.
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: Sandy and Safres soils on the plot, Les Bédines giving to the wine elegance and freshness.
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: 2 to 15 years
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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Elie Dussaud was the owner the Clos du Caillou with 6 hectares of vines in 1936 when the appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was created. The Clos was his second home with his mansion in Courthezon (which is now the Mairie). Elie Dussaud had made his fortune in construction. The Clos was used it as a hunting base with no entry to the public. He refused entry on to their property of the men drawing up the boundaries for appellation. As such, the property inside the Clos was excluded from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation even though the terroir was/is of identical quality to that of the appellation outside of the Clos. Therefore, Clos du Caillou was classified as Côtes du Rhône.
The Pouizin family purchased the property in 1956 and it was run by Claude Pouizin until 1996. The Domaine cultivated 9 ha in Châteauneuf du Pape and 45ha in Côtes du Rhône. In 1996, his daughter, Slyvie and her husband Jean-Denis Vacherons took over responsibility for the domaine. Denis was tragically killed in car accident in 2002.
The Domaine quickly moved into full bottling to profit from growing export market. In 1998, they produced a second cuvée La Réserve and a third cuvée Quartz was produced in 1999. Bruno Gaspard joined the Domaine in 2002 as winemaker & chef des vignes. The domaine got the organic certification in 2010. It was the outcome of efforts towards natural practices started by Claude Pouizin in the early 1950’s. It lasted 3 years of reconversion. In this same philosophy, for several years now, biodynamic agriculture is practiced in one part of the vineyard with the goal to cover all of the Domaine’s vineyards.
In 2020 April, Le Clos du Caillou purchased a new estate, Domaine de Panisse. This beautiful estate, sold by lack of progeny, is composed of 33 acres of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, planted on an exceptional terroir of sandy soils. The vineyard is composed of the traditional grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and also old Cinsault from 1950. Some Grenache were even planted in 1924!