Four Cotes du Rhone wines were on the agenda first. A very good warm-up to some more serious wines possibly? The first wine up was a 2001 Clos du Caillou CDR, from a vintage that was affected by rain. Good all the same, with ripe Grenache raspberries and plums and really quite accessible now. Of course, a step up was the 2010 Clos du Caillou ‘Bouquet des Garrigues’ CDR. Riper and sweeter, showing the vintage, darker fruit flavours, but a hint of horsey brett sneaking in an appearance. A hot year, high sugars and all that jazz makes it more likely that it’ll rear its head. Another step up, and considerably so was the 2010 Clos du Caillou ‘Les Quartz’ CDR. Rich and juicy, bolder in exotic fruit sweetness, and loads of fine textures and grip. The label is out there too, matching the wine. This is from a Chateauneuf vineyard, I believe. The top of the line for the estate is the 2010 Le Clos du Caillou ‘Reserve’ CDR. Tight, refined and classy in structure and proportion, but with the extract to go the distance that any top Chateauneuf might go. This called to me, and I came along for the ride.
With the brilliant showing by the top two Cotes du Rhone, what could the real thing, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, offer? For starters, fuller fruit, ripe fruit, more layers of interest. Then greater extract and structure. Yes, a step up in providing the complete experience. The 2010 Le Clos du Caillou ‘Les Safres’ CNP is a traditional number, with a robustness and savoury, earthy complexity, making it a complete wine in its own right. Like the CDR, the 2010 Domaine du Caillou ‘Les Quartz’ CNP is exotic, fleshy, modern and a statement in bold, sweet, ripe fruit. Over-ripe maybe, and a little too alcoholic, but sheer decadence needing no justification. Then the 2010 Le Clos du Caillou ‘Reserve’ CNP, with great extraction allied to super refinement. This has the style to go a couple of decades if necessary. It’s only concession to the world would be noticeable oak spicing. The New World influence creeping in? I’d like to think it’ll dissipate with time.
These are all worthy modern Rhones from a great year. Better than the softer, broader 2009s, rather like the situation in Burgundy? My take is that it’ll be great to compare 2009 and 2010 together. It’s your call, but you can’t go wrong. Thanks First Aid Man!