Two wines here from Domaine du Caillou, a leading domaine in the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. Both are from the 2010 vintage and were bottled very recently, in March 2012.
In terms of style these are definitely for fans of concentration, substance and texture. I find them rather on the warm and voluptuous side for my palate, but they are technically very good wines for sure. I have included prices for cases, in bond, from stockist Bancroft Wines.
The first comes from vines within the Clos du Caillou, but outside the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation as it was laid down in 1936. The fruit is fermented in wooden vats with a 30-day maceration, and délestage (emptying and refilling the vats, a very forceful method of ensuring the cap is mixed with the fermenting wine, enhancing extraction) as well as pigeage.The wine was bottled in March 2012, after 16 months in oak (different vessels for the two varieties featured).
Clos du Caillou Côtes du Rhône Les Quartz 2010: A blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Mourvèdre, picked at 20 hl/ha. A rich and vibrant hue here. Big sweet cherry-liqueur characteristics on the nose, with a layer of rich tones laid over the top, scents of chocolate and smoke surely reflecting some time in oak. There is a garriquey edge to the fruit, but no shortage of solid impact aromatically. There is very voluptuous texture on the start of the palate, and although it is not immediately apparent on second and subsequent tastes there is an undeniable warmth to it here as well. This comes close to dominating the palate with time, but thankfully there is a good cushion of cherry fruit to provide some counterbalance, and there is still some pepper and spice character in the end. Some grip and acid here, but they play second fiddle at best, in what is undoubtedly a ‘hedonistic’ style. Alcohol 14.5%. 14/20 (May 2012) (£135 per case, in bond)
Next up, the Châteauneuf du Pape, handled in much the same way as the Côtes du Rhône, although here 17 months was spent in older wood, 7-11 years old for the Grenache, 2-3 years for the Syrah.
Domaine du Caillou Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 2010: Also a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Mourvèdre, yield 25 hl/ha, this has a less rich hue than the Côtes du Rhône, less dense, but still showing some vibrant youth. There is a more restrained fruit character here too, albeit overlaid with a very slight hint of toffee, and again a slightly wispy nose that suggests warmth. It tends to suggest the fruit was very ripe and sugar-rich at the time of harvest. This does not show as overtly on the palate as it does in the Côtes du Rhône, but it is undeniably there, although there is also a little more balance and harmony here, more cushion for the structual elemants as well as the alcohol. Definitely more savoury, less primary, but with no let up on power and substance on the palate, backed up by pepper, tannin and spice. From a technical point of view, a very good wine. Alcohol 14.5%. 15/20 (May 2012) (£395 per case, in bond)