A blockbuster in the making is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape les Quartz, which is 100% Grenache from the les Cassanets lieu-dit just beside the estate. Garrigue, kirsch, black raspberries, spice, and incense notes all literally soar from the glass of this sensational red. With full-bodied richness, incredible purity, ultra-fine tannin, and a killer finish, it's going to be one of the wines of the vintage. Clos du Caillou, under the helm of the Vacheron family, with Bruno Gaspard as winemaker and Philippe Cambie as consultant, continues to release a bevy of brilliant Côtes du Rhônes and Châteauneuf du Papes. As I wrote last year, the style has shifted slightly towards the more elegant side of the spectrum and apparent with the 2015s, which at times had me wishing for slightly more density and breadth, especially with the top cuvees. Nevertheless, the wines are brilliant and the 2015 vintage as a whole is a more streamlined, elegant vintage. The 2016s appear to be a return to wines with more oomph, density, and depth, and I think are a clear step up.
A prospective blend of the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Quartz showed waves of cherry fruit, rich, velvety tannins and a long, spice-driven finish. It's a complete wine, even at this embryonic stage, and should age up to two decades. This substantial estate totals 60 hectares in total, although only nine lie within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, concentrated in the sandier soils of the appellation's northeastern sector. On my visit, it was great to meet the young Marilou Vacheron, back to join the family estate after five years of business school, and the longtime (since 2002) winemaker Bruno Gaspard. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2010. Gaspard compares the 2016s to 2010 or 2005, he says, "but better."(JC)
Strawberry, blueberry and black cherry here. Lusher in fruit and denser in tannin than their Safres. It has bright acidity and vibrant freshness, with a detailed, silky and seamless quality on the palate. A very harmonious and seductive wine, with the bright, polished, glassy Clos du Caillou style. A long, tapered finish.Drinking Window 2019 - 2026.(MW)
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