Based in Courthézon, Clos du Caillou produces exceptional cuvées which show purity of fruit, complexity and a smooth texture. Founded in 1895, the estate was originally a hunting preserve. In the 1930s when the Chateauneau-du-Pape appellation was created, experts came to survey the estate’s land but were met with armed opposition from the caretakers. Clos du Caillou remained as a hunting estate until 1955, hence why on a map of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC there is a blank spot around the estate’s land. It is for this reason also that Clos de Caillou’s wines are labelled as Cotes du Rhone and not Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Claude Pouizin discovered that the estate’s terroir was exceptionally good for growing vines and soon began a deforestation project that was strongly criticised by Courthézon inhabitants at the time. Nevertheless, Claude persevered and planted vines on the land and produced their first wine in the 1970s. Over the next decade, accompanied by his wife, Clos du Caillou increased production and began to export wines. In 1996, Claude’s youngest daughter, Sylvie, and her husband Jean-Denis Vacheron (son of Marie-Claire and Jean-Louis Vacheron) move from Sancerre to take over the running of Clos du Caillou. The couple set about improving the estate and began producing outstanding wines vintage after vintage until Jean-Denis’ untimely death in 2002. Sylvie has carried on the exceptional work at Clos du Caillou with the help of winemaker Bruno Gaspard and her two children Marilou and Axel.

In 2010 the estate received organic certification, the initial steps towards which had been started back in the 1950s by Claude Pouizin. The most recent change to the historical domaine was the purchase of the 13 hectare Domaine de Panisse based in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Grapes are picked by hand and manually sorted at the vineyard. Different varieties are vinified separately to respect their own character, aromas and originality. For the reds vinification is usually preceded by a cold maceration. The fermentation starts naturally, only indigenous yeasts are used for all wines. The whites are vinified in stainless tanks, and the reds undergo a fermentation in wooden and cement tanks followed by aging in foudres and oak barrels. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Available Wines