With new oak being a rarity and a traditional emphasis on the natural opulence of Grenache, this sunny Mediterranean influenced region is hard to beat for pure expressions of terroir and grape variety. While famous villages traditionally demand a much higher price than Cotes du Rhone, this broad reaching appellation can offer some of the most transcendental experiences in French wine.
Among the venerable and important wines of the southern Rhone, Le Clos du Caillou is a stand out. Founded in 1956, in the town of Courthézon, the estate is composed of 44 hectares in Cotes du Rhone, and nine hectares in Châteauneuf du Pape. Importantly, the “clos,” or walled portion of the estate - where vines for Le Bouquet des Garrigues Cotes du Rhone wines are grown - shares the same terroir with Caillou’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape holdings. Organically farmed, the vineyard boasts a mix of terroirs with a predominance of sand, which gives Caillou wines their signature elegance and fine-grained texture. The estate has been practicing biodynamic viticulture since 2003, and was certified as of 2010.
The 2015 "Bouquet des Garriques" is a blend of 70+ year old vine Grenache with small amounts of Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan. Grapes are harvested by hand and manually sorted in both the fields and at the cellar, then partially destemmed and fermented on indigenous yeasts in cement tanks. Aged for approximately 14 months in a combination of large foudre, demi-muid and barrel, this silky cotes du rhone was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Full bodied with rich red and black fruits, it exudes Provencal notes of wild lavender, thyme and rosemary (for which the cuvée is named) with pleasing black pepper and a savory, meaty olive tone that speaks to the estate's Mediterranean-influenced climate. The power of the exceptional 2015 vintage is evident in the wine's lush texture and Bruno Gaspard's deft winemaking keeps this ageworthy red dangerously easy drinking and approachable in its youth. Enjoy with everything from braised lamb and hearty vegetarian dishes to peking duck and all things pork.