Friday, November 30, 2012

Clos du Caillou Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Rhone, 1998

I bought this wine when it was still priced like a Cotes du Rhone ($10) rather than a "cuvee unique." I opened one bottle right away, finding an interesting funky wine but only hints of its true potential. Ten to twelve years later, it has developed into a wine that is worth the $25 that is being asked for the current vintage. Clos du Caillou is a good producer of Chateauneuf du Pape, and this wine clearly comes from old vineyards not far from the appellation. North Berkeley Imports had the opportunity to select the barrels it  purchased and had them bottled without filtering. So there is a funkiness now, as there was a decade ago, and those who don't like old vine funk should leave this alone so there is more of it for those of us who appreciate it.

The color is a deep crimson turning to brown. "Non-filtre" means there is plenty of sediment on the side of the bottle. Smells old viney--deeply concentrated cherries--dried and fresh--with spice and tobacco. This is a Chateauneuf du Pape in everything but name. Slightly warm on the palate but mellow. Dark cherries and spice. Beautiful. At $10 a bottle, too bad I didn't buy more.

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