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Sensational 2016s from a Coveted Rhône Estate: Clos du Caillou - 02/04/2018 - Rhone Valley

This is a vintage that any Rhone lover will be thrilled to own on arrival and the many years to follow – 2016 is full of treasures and a campaign to take action on, early and often. One Rhône estate we return to year after year, vintage after vintage is Clos du Caillou. Under the guidance of famed wine consultant Philippe Cambie, the wines, across the portfolio, possess the tell-tale opulence and richness for which Cambie is so well known. This is particularly true when it comes to the 2016s, which enjoyed an especially warm and ripe vintage. But these wines aren’t simple fruit bombs, but serious efforts that deftly display the unique terroir of the region. Biodynamically produced and with a keen eye to the soil and aspect of each individual plot, the team at Clos du Caillou carefully consider every aspect from vine to bottle. Caillou has been gaining momentum in the market for several years now, but the recent vintages show some of their best work to date. The big press and points tell only part of the story here, as these are benchmark bottlings by which other Southern Rhône bottlings should be judged. Very attractively priced, this is a terrific opportunity to get in on a top named producer from a historic vintage.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2016 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 93 $36.99 View
2016 Le Clos du Caillou "La Réserve" Côtes du Rhône (Pre-Arrival) 95 $39.99 View
2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Les Safres" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 96 $59.95 View
2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Les Quartz" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 99 $89.99 View
2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Reserve le Clos du Caillou" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 100 $139.99 View


2016 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($36.99)

93 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is another smoking good wine that delivers terrific elegance and purity. Black cherries, black raspberries, crushed rocks, dried earth and loads of spice flow to a full-bodied, balanced, impeccably textured red that has fine tannin, integrated acidity, and a big finish. It's a big rich wine thats never over the top or cumbersome.Clos du Caillou, under the helm of the Vacheron family, with Bruno Gaspard as winemaker and Philippe Cambie as consultant, continues to release a bevy of brilliant Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf du Papes. As I wrote last year, the style has shifted slightly towards the more elegant side of the spectrum and apparent with the 2015s, which at times had me wishing for slightly more density and breadth, especially with the top cuvees. Nevertheless, the wines are brilliant and the 2015 vintage as a whole is a more streamlined, elegant vintage. The 2016s appear to be a return to wines with more oomph, density, and depth, and I think are a clear step up." (10/2017)

91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A textbook effort, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape offers notions of red and black cherries, a rich, velvety mouthfeel and lashings of clove and allspice on the finish. It looks to be a step up from the 2015. This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, 'but better.'(JC)" (10/2017)

2016 Le Clos du Caillou "La Réserve" Côtes du Rhône (Pre-Arrival) ($39.99)

95 points Jeb Dunnuck: "A total Wow!" wine, the 2016 Côtes du Rhône Reserve (60/40 Grenache and Mourvèdre) boast knockout notes of blackcurrants, black raspberries, smoked herbs, licorice and crushed rock-like minerality. Big, rich, unctuous and layered, yet still fine and finesse-driven, drink this full-bodied powerhouse anytime over the coming decade or more." (10/2017)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A potentially prodigious Côtes du Rhône, the 2016 Cotes du Rhone La Reserve boasts layers of dark, creamy, rich fruit, velvety tannins and a complex, spice-driven finish. It could mop the floor with many Châteauneufs. (JC)" (10/2017)

2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Les Safres" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($59.95)

93-96 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Made from close to 100% Grenache and all from sandstone soils, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres offers more framboise, strawberry and kirsch-like notes to go with a full-bodied, layered style on the palate. Ripe, textured, and incredibly sexy, yet with building tannin (its more structured than the traditional cuvée), it's going to just sing on release, yet keep for 15+ years of more.Clos du Caillou, under the helm of the Vacheron family, with Bruno Gaspard as winemaker and Philippe Cambie as consultant, continues to release a bevy of brilliant Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf du Papes. As I wrote last year, the style has shifted slightly towards the more elegant side of the spectrum and apparent with the 2015s, which at times had me wishing for slightly more density and breadth, especially with the top cuvees. Nevertheless, the wines are brilliant and the 2015 vintage as a whole is a more streamlined, elegant vintage. The 2016s appear to be a return to wines with more oomph, density, and depth, and I think are a clear step up." (10/2017)

93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres delivers crisply defined cherry fruit, a richly tannic mid-palate and a long, focused, velvety finish. It looks likely to need a bit of cellaring but to be capable of aging up to two decades. This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, "but better."(JC)" (10/2017)

2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Les Quartz" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($89.99)

96-99 points Jeb Dunnuck: "A blockbuster in the making is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape les Quartz, which is 100% Grenache from the les Cassanets lieu-dit just beside the estate. Garrigue, kirsch, black raspberries, spice, and incense notes all literally soar from the glass of this sensational red. With full-bodied richness, incredible purity, ultra-fine tannin, and a killer finish, it's going to be one of the wines of the vintage.Clos du Caillou, under the helm of the Vacheron family, with Bruno Gaspard as winemaker and Philippe Cambie as consultant, continues to release a bevy of brilliant Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf du Papes. As I wrote last year, the style has shifted slightly towards the more elegant side of the spectrum and apparent with the 2015s, which at times had me wishing for slightly more density and breadth, especially with the top cuvees. Nevertheless, the wines are brilliant and the 2015 vintage as a whole is a more streamlined, elegant vintage. The 2016s appear to be a return to wines with more oomph, density, and depth, and I think are a clear step up." (10/2017)

94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A prospective blend of the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Quartz showed waves of cherry fruit, rich, velvety tannins and a long, spice-driven finish. It's a complete wine, even at this embryonic stage, and should age up to two decades. This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, "but better."(JC)" (10/2017)

94 points Decanter: "Strawberry, blueberry and black cherry here. Lusher in fruit and denser in tannin than their Safres. It has bright acidity and vibrant freshness, with a detailed, silky and seamless quality on the palate. A very harmonious and seductive wine, with the bright, polished, glassy Clos du Caillou style. A long, tapered finish.Drinking Window 2019 - 2026.(MW)" (10/2017)

2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Reserve le Clos du Caillou" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) - 0 available ($139.99)

96-100 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Possessing a more discrete, nuanced style than the blockbuster-styled Cuvée Quarts, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve reveals a deep ruby color as well as more focused, pure notes of blackcurrants, graphite, crushed rock and mineral nuances. Just gorgeously pure, seamless, impeccably balanced and with a finish that wont quit, give this power-packed, concentrated 2016 4-5 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades.Clos du Caillou, under the helm of the Vacheron family, with Bruno Gaspard as winemaker and Philippe Cambie as consultant, continues to release a bevy of brilliant Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf du Papes. As I wrote last year, the style has shifted slightly towards the more elegant side of the spectrum and apparent with the 2015s, which at times had me wishing for slightly more density and breadth, especially with the top cuvees. Nevertheless, the wines are brilliant and the 2015 vintage as a whole is a more streamlined, elegant vintage. The 2016s appear to be a return to wines with more oomph, density, and depth, and I think are a clear step up." (10/2017)

98-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The potentially perfect 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Reserve shows incredible depth and richness. A cavalcade of cherries and berries, dustings of dried spices and layers and layers of silky tannins flow and expand across the palate, suffusing it entirely. Breathtaking! This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, "but better."(JC)" (10/2017)

95 points Decanter: "This wine is made from the same plots on sandy soils in Guigasse and Pignan every year. Fermented in tronconic vats then matured in a variety of sizes and types of vessel. Plum, strawberry, blueberry and liquorice aromas lead into a full-bodied, beautifully silky palate. It's very concentrated, with very fine tannins and piercing acidity. The overall effect is seamless, leading to a long, tapered finish with some mineral glints. There is some sweetness to the fruit, and it will offer great purity and pleasure in the early to mid-term. Harmonious, elegant and polished. Certified organic.Drinking Window 2019 - 2027.(MW)" (10/2017)