Le Clos du Caillou, a 53 hectare wine estate with Côtes-du-Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellations, is located in Courthézon in the South of France.
The property came in possession of the Pouizin family in 1956. Until 1996 the property was run by Claude Pouizin, who until 1993 sold most of his yield to negociants. In 1996 his daughter Sylvie and son-in-law Jean-Denis Vacherons took charge and the quality of the wines from property rapidly rose.
In the spring 2002 Jean-Denis Vacherons was killed in a traffic accident. Today Sylvie runs the property with assistance from wine maker Bruno Gaspard and the oenolog Philippe Cambie.
The vineyards are certified agriculture biologique from vintage 2010. The next step is for the domaine to become biodynamique.
The property has only 9 ha of AOC Chateauneuf-du-Pape, of which 1 ha is planted with white varieties. The domain makes extremely good Cotes du Rhone from 44 ha of Cotes-du-Rhone. The Cotes du Rhone Bouquet des Garrigues comes from fields just outside the border of AOC Chateauneuf-du- Pape. The story goes that in the 1930’s, the owner, armed with a hunting rifle, refused to receive experts seeking to delimit the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Thus, Clos du Caillou remains a kind of enclave, with many of the very old vines classified as Cotes-du-Rhone, rather than Chateauneuf-du-Pape, as they would have been!
The vineyards are rich in traditional red varieties as Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah and traditional white varieties as Grenache, Roussane, Clairette. These grapes varieties are cultivated on excellent terroir: there is both sandy soil, pebbles and large stones in the different vineyards.
Wine-making often starts with cold maceration. The red wines are aged in large oak casks, oak demi muid, foudres and new barriques for more than a year.
The reputation of the estate has risen rapidly since the Sylvie and wine maker Bruno have assumed control. The wines consistently receive tremendous reviews from all the press, both international and French.