Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel)

Châteauneuf-du-Pape White Rhône Blend

9.42 ratings
9.42 pro ratings
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France
White Rhone Blend
Top Notes For
Josh Morgenthau

Floral, round, sweet, but with pretty minerals and a great rocky bite.

Floral, round, sweet, but with pretty minerals and a great rocky bite.

Jun 13th, 2022
Will Stanley

This weekend I travelled through the Rhône valley and stayed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A big first for me, this being the first wine region for which I have a great love that I’ve visited (I did spend a week in Tuscany last year; I adore Brunello, as and when, but the Rhône valley has had my heart for many a year).

Though I have a decent (by amateur standards!) knowledge of France’s first AOC, several tastings in the village opened my eyes - or palate - to the difference between traditional and contemporary Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which manifests largely in the use of oak.

So, here is a historical estate whose practice has fallen for some time within this ‘contemporary’ camp; Les Cailloux is a traditional varietal blend dominated by Grenache (70%) with an average vine age of 60 years. There’s 10% Syrah in the mix, and this is the only component that sees any oak - everything else is vinified and matured in concrete. The resulting wine is one of purity, intensity of fruit, and great expression of terroir. The nose is exuberant, offering scents of fresh raspberries, liquorice, cherry kirsch and lavender; the palate is intense, saturated but light on its feet, its glossy fruit mediated by a hint of sour cranberry and very, very supple tannins. Is there a touch of chalk there, too? It finishes long - notably so.

Overall, this is a tremendously pure expression of the appellation, and though the label may be in keeping with the sort of dense, funk-laden bottles of yesteryear, this is a terrific wine that enthusiasts of Châteauneuf-du-Pape should seek out.

This weekend I travelled through the Rhône valley and stayed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A big first for me, this being the first wine region for which I have a great love that I’ve visited (I did spend a week in Tuscany last year; I adore Brunello, as and when, but the Rhône valley has had my heart for many a year).

Though I have a decent (by amateur standards!) knowledge of France’s first AOC, several tastings in the village opened my eyes - or palate - to the difference between traditional and contemporary Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which manifests largely in the use of oak.

So, here is a historical estate whose practice has fallen for some time within this ‘contemporary’ camp; Les Cailloux is a traditional varietal blend dominated by Grenache (70%) with an average vine age of 60 years. There’s 10% Syrah in the mix, and this is the only component that sees any oak - everything else is vinified and matured in concrete. The resulting wine is one of purity, intensity of fruit, and great expression of terroir. The nose is exuberant, offering scents of fresh raspberries, liquorice, cherry kirsch and lavender; the palate is intense, saturated but light on its feet, its glossy fruit mediated by a hint of sour cranberry and very, very supple tannins. Is there a touch of chalk there, too? It finishes long - notably so.

Overall, this is a tremendously pure expression of the appellation, and though the label may be in keeping with the sort of dense, funk-laden bottles of yesteryear, this is a terrific wine that enthusiasts of Châteauneuf-du-Pape should seek out.

May 30th, 2022