A Wine Spectrum Spotlight – Clos Du Caillou

Winemaker: Bruno Gaspard – Location: Southern Rhone


Clos du Caillou is ideally located in the municipality of Courthezon, France. It consists of 44 hectares in Cotes du Rhone, and 9 hectares in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Clos du Caillou has the distinction of being located on the very edge of the appellation Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Clos du Caillou

Consequences of the classification of 1936

Formerly a Hunting Reserve, the owner refused in 1936 to visit the domain experts that were responsible for the classification of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Because of his stubbornness Clos was not added into the appellation, and today the Clos du Caillou remains a small slice cut out of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation.

With Clos du Caillou not being classified as part of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 1936, it was classified a Rhone Villages appellation. Today, inside the Clos on identical terroir to that of Chateauneuf-du-Pape which surround the local area, they produce Cotes du Rhone .

The Vineyards

Importantly, Caillou’s Cotes du Rhone vineyards are essentially the same, in terroir and exposition, as its Chateauneuf vineyards. This fact not only sets the estate’s wines above its peers in the region — but also shows the high quality of the Rhone selections, from top to bottom. While the average age of their vines is over 40 years, some of their vines date to over 100 years old.

The vineyards mostly consist of vines planted over the last 50 years and contain red varieties of: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Carignan, Dormouse.

The whites that are planted are: White Rose Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, White Clairette, Viognier, Bourboulenc.

The Terroir

This land is one of the most interesting terroirs of the appellation. It has the advantage of being very permeable; thereby it evacuates excess water very quickly. This terroir allows the grapes to ripen more quickly (as much as 15 days earlier than most). Finesse, elegance, supple tannins and generally a very Burgundian style characterize the wines from this region.

The soil is composed of sand, stone, and Miocene marine limestone covered with pebbles, which evokes the passage of the Rhone at this time. The rocks have a beneficial effect on the quality of the grapes they store heat during the day and diffuse slowly overnight.


Caillou wines are Rhone blends at their most intense. The wines stand out with their concentrated flavors, which are mouth-filling yet balanced. Other regional wineries try to achieve this balance, yet wind up with cloying, heavy wines with muted flavors.


Some of our available favorites:

2013 Clos du Caillou

Red Rhone Blend  |  Chateauneuf du Pape

Wine Spectrum Rated 95: Deliciously long and concentrated, this 2013 Châteauneuf represents the crème de la crème of the Caillou cellars. Red fruits dominate this wine, with very supple, sweet and pure flavors. Raspberries, sweet red cherries and red plums abound. The estate’s old vine Grenache delivers endless spicy notes, with suggestions of pepper, leather, lavender and smoky licorice in the nose and palate. A nice peppery finish lingers with plenty of juicy energy. A fantastic wine and truly the find of the vintage. 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah. Unfined and unfiltered.

2013 Clos du Caillou ‘Reserve’

Red Rhone Blend  |  Cotes du Rhone

Wine Spectrum Rated 93: Just like its Châteauneuf counterpart, this incredibly luscious Côtes du Rhône is wrapped in purple silk and delivers mouth-filling, saturated black-fruited flavors, silky, earthy tannins and good structure. A selection of older-vine 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre from sandy soils inside the domaine “clos.”

2012 Clos du Caillou ‘Reserve’

Red Rhone Blend  |  Chateauneuf du Pape

Wine Advocate Rated 95: Lastly, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve le Clos du Caillou is a classic example of this cuvee. Made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre, aged all in demi-muid, it offers ample dark fruits, chocolate, bouquet garni and licorice in its full-bodied, supple, forward and elegantly styled profile. As with all of the 2012s here, the tannin is wonderfully ripe, the wine has solid concentration and everything is perfectly balanced. While it’s hard to resist already, it will be better with short-term cellaring and have 15+ years of overall longevity.

2011 Clos du Caillou ‘Reserve’

Red Rhone Blend  |  Chateauneuf du Pape

Wine Spectrum Rated 95+, Robert Parker 93-95: Even better, and a candidate for the wine of the vintage, is the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Le Clos du Caillou. Composed of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre, it possesses great intensity, a stunningly dense purple color, this is one of the great wines of 2011. Much richer, fuller, and deeper than most 2011s, this wine will need some bottle age and atypically last 15 or more years. 

*Most of this information has been gathered from the winery website.

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