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Vacqueyras is a key appellation in the southern Rhône, where our old friends at Clos des Cazaux have, again, produced a humdinger! Laden with dark, peppery, plummy fruit, overlaid with hints of raspberry and cherry, our Exhibition Vacqueyras is already bewitching and will continue to evolve over the next few years.
Product Code: RH53751
View all products by Domaine Le Clos Des Cazaux
The Archimbaud-Vache family – owners of Clos des Cazaux – is one of the oldest families in Vacqueyras, with roots dating back to 1791. Even the building containing its tasting cellars dates back to this era, although the family has since expanded across the southern Rhône. The property is currently run by brothers Jean-Michel and Frédéric Vache.The family began planting vines in the 19th century, but this didn’t become the sole focus of the estate until 1957, when a terrible frost wiped out the olive groves that made up the rest of it.The estate gets its name from when the property was owned by the Knights Templar. At the time, a cattle grower in this area was called a ‘Chazal’, but this word evolved over the years into ‘Cazaux’. The family began bottling their wine under the name Clos des Cazaux in 1959 and have never looked back.The scope of the portfolio was extended beyond Vacqueyras in 1936 when a member of the family, Gabriel Archimbaud, was involved in the classification of the term Côtes-du-Rhône. Clos des Cazaux has been making wines under this appellation ever since, and in 1954 began making Gigondas when the family purchased vines in that area.The Clos des Cazaux vineyards in Vacqueyras are beautiful, well-exposed suntraps, becoming so hot in the summer that the grapes ripen around two weeks earlier than the hilly, cooler Gigondas sites. The soils, mostly clay and limestone, are covered in flat, heat-retaining pebbles.Vineyards are maintained entirely by hand, including 100% hand harvesting. They also operate a yearly ‘green harvest’ in which they prune away around 20% of the unripe grapes, believing as many other growers do that this improves the quality of the remaining bunches. However, they do not allow the grapes to over-ripen before harvest and they discard any split or unhealthy ones prior to fermentation. Wines are vinified simply in concrete tanks to retain freshness and fruit flavour, but the hot climate gives Vacqueyras’ typical body and power. The Society’s Exhibition Vacqueyras, made by Clos des Cazaux, remains a benchmark example of the region.
Producing over 3.5m hl (hectolitres), this is the second biggest region for production of appellation contrôlée wine in France after Bordeaux. Most is red, though production of both white and pink is growing. Some 20 grape varieties are planted in the south though one in particular, Grenache, gives the region as a whole its identity: generosity, body, weight and a definite tendency to making big wines. More than half of the production is of Côtes-du-Rhône with the best sold as Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Better still are the so-called crus led by Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself.Châteauneuf-du-Pape: This large area to the north of Avignon makes the best wines of the south. Reds tend to be grenache based with syrah, mourvèdre and counoise also used. Few wines combine immense strength with perfect elegance quite so convincingly. Word of caution: Châteauneuf produces as much wine as the whole of the northern Rhône put together. A third is very good, a third acceptable and the last third, undrinkable.Right bank: Villages include Tavel (rosé only) Lirac, Saint-Gervais and Laudun. There is more rain here but it is also hot and grapes are therefore early ripening. Most of the area lies in the département of the Gard and stretches from the river westwards towards Nîmes where at some ill-defined line in the soil, the Rhône becomes the Languedoc. This is an area that has much improved over the years and has become a valuable source for very fine, concentrated syrah wines in particular.A little further on are the Costieres de Nimes, a large area of upland plateau, south-east of Nîmes. For the moment the Costières produces good everyday wines of good quality but there is potential to do much more.Northern hills: There are fresh sub-alpine breezes at work here and as a result the wines often have a distinct freshness too. Just north of Orange is the largely wooded and isolated Massif d'Uchaux. Many of its star producers here are able to farm organically. The three 'Vs' : Valréas, Visan and Vinsobres: These are three top neighbouring villages (with a 4th, Saint-Maurice broadly similar to Vinsobres). Vinsobres has full cru status and makes superb wine. Best names include Perrin, now the largest land owner and Domaine Jaume whose wines have been charming members since the 1979 vintage.Valréas and Visan are planted on the same hill but tend to look north. Emmanuel Bouchard is one of the top names in Valréas. Adrien Fabre makes both outstanding examples of both Visan and Saint-Maurice.Tricastin/Grignan-lès-Adhémar - The Tricastin is a much neglected part of the Rhône and coming down from the northern Rhône, these are the first vines one sees. It's a relatively cool area, far too cold for growing mourvèdre successfully, but the whites do very well and so does the syrah grape. The area has seen a name change as Tricastin is also the name of a power station on the river. The new name for the wines (which doesn't exactly trip off the tongue), is Grignan-lès-Adhémar. Central hills - This includes the villages of Cairanne and Rasteau along with neighbouring Roaix. Big full-bodied wines, grenache dominated. Rasteau is all power and might while Cairanne is more deicate.Plan de Dieu - Large flat expanse of pudding stones that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see, in the middle of which there is an airfield, (largely built for the Luftwaffe) surrounded by vines. Full-bodied style. Excellent for mourvèdre. Jaboulet are very good here as is the Meffre family.Eastern fringes - Set against an iconic landscape with Mont Ventoux and the craggy Dentelles de Montmirail as the backdrop, some of these hillsides were first planted by the Romans and include some of the best-known names in the Rhône Valley.Gigondas: Mountain wine, late harvested, always dramatic and very full-bodied though never coarse or overweight. These are generous reds, capable of long ageing. A little rosé is also made.Vacqueyras: Next door to Gigondas yet different. Fruitier, a shade less powerful and more obviously charming:Beaumes de Venise: The red is as full as Gigondas but rounder and less complex and this village is better known for its sweet muscat, a vin doux naturel and perfect for desserts.Ventoux: At nearly 2000m this is some mountain which scores of cyclists are forced to conquer every year in the Tour de France. Its lower slopes are vineyard country though. Traditionally these were known as Côtes du Ventoux and were made and sold cheaply. Things are changing though with more estates cutting yields and making full and concentrated wine, not dissimilar to and better value than many Châteauneufs.
"The value for money star at this weeks Rhone tasting. Outclassed more expensive wines. Delicious peppery Rhone and a class or two above all the Cotes du Rhone on show. Clos des Cazaux always over deliver on taste and vfm and this is no exception."
I would recommend this wine
"A lovely example of quality Cotes Du Rhone. Lots of elegant flavours combining red and dark fruits."
"Very good indeed. Accompanied a roast meal very well. Complexities and interest abound - I would recommend. "
"Very good for the price. "
"What a revelation for the price. Both my wife and I enjoyed this fruit driven wine. One of the best Exhibition bottles to date
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Smokey, pepper, spice and fruit. Really lovely now. "
Mr Tom Rodger (13-Mar-2020)
"This is an excellent example of well-made, quality Vacqueyras from a very good year that is drinking now. Smooth and elegant with good punch as befits a Southern Rhone. From an accomplished grower and it shows. Great advert for the Exhibition range at a very fair price."
Lt Col J M W Moody (10-Jun-2019)
"I just bought another 12 but it won’t be drinking this decade. Drinking now not a chance! I opened the bottle sat 12noon to have with lunch at 1.30pm and didn’t think it was drinkable until Sunday dinner at 6pm. And then it was fantastic. When I opened it originally it has that spicy dark fruits Vacqueras nose which is so enticing, but the palate as others have suggested, is tight austere, even bitter, with a hint of spicyness and fruit, but if you have the experience you can tell it has promise. So that’s why I left it..then it’s a winner but drinking now I’m afraid someone at the wine society is filling an allocation and that I’m afraid is becoming much too prevalent on “drinking now” reds. This wine is almost undrinkable straight out of the bottle."
Mr James Brown (12-May-2019)
"Pretty good at this price point."
Mr Paul R Billett (11-Mar-2019)
" I agree with both the other two reviewers.Once corked ,give it a while to breath to grace the glass."
Prof Denis Gleeson (04-Mar-2019)
"I’ve found this to be a beautiful wine. Not too fruity or heavy. It’s rounded and enjoyable. For me, best served when warmed by the everhot! A firm favourite with a traditional French taste."
Mrs Helen Fitzpatrick (03-Jan-2019)
"A little austere for my liking. Reviews of previous vintages have pointed out that a long decanting period is essential for this wine, and I have certainly found that to be the case. Drinking soon after opening was frankly not particularly enjoyable; so astringent as to feel 'chewy', with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and a heaviness which obliterates the finer fruit notes. The second bottle of this lasted 2 days and it was better on the second day. Then I found it much more balanced, with a hint of violets shining through. Still, it was not more-ish and although my wife was pleased, I don't think this will ever be a 'crowd pleaser'. It is certainly a wine of quality, but just rather unforgiving. I ordered hoping it would provide something similar so the wines I had experienced when exploring the Ventoux region, however this was not to be."
Mr Matt Ridley (04-Nov-2018)
"I agree whole heartedly with the previous reviewer when it comes to decanting. This wine, in my opinion, most certainly benefits from being left to relax out of the bottle. I did not with my first bottle and was a little underwhelmed, ok was the comments but not good. I left the last bottle for two days and it was transformed. It had a lovely mouth feel with a nice fruit and enough acidity to make it interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend. "
Mr Graeme Creighton (09-Nov-2018)
"we very much enjoyed the 2014 but the 2015 is quite dry in comparison so we'll have to drink our other bottle with sunday lunch."
Mr Charles Hawkins (04-Dec-2017)
"A very nice Vacqueyras, providing it has at least 2hrs in a decanter, or you might just be disappointed. Straight from the bottle It has a very inviting brambly fruity nose, but the palate is resiny, tight and light. Into the decanter, and take the dog for a long walk, and hey presto a lovely wine with a mid palate of ripe syrah, warm grenache and spicy hints. 2015 Rhones are supposed to be quite robust, so I'm sure it will be even better in a couple of years."
Mr James Brown (23-Nov-2017)
"The nose was pure cowshed and, although it improved considerably on the palette, I just couldn't ignore that."
Dr Michael Huggins (10-Jun-2017)
"The 2011 exhibition set a very high standard to meet. This 2014 could be called subtle, if I was being generous! It's a perfectly "nice" Rhone wine but it carries limited characteristics of a decent Vacqueras. Yes it has an inviting perfumed nose, but don’t be tempted to drink it straight from the bottle. After 2hrs in a decanter there's just a hint of brambly fruit, and a little spice but it’s so light weight it’s unlikely it will improve with age. Is it of Exhibition quality, or a “Society” Vacqueras? For me there’s just not enough body in the wine to encourage me to open another."
Mr James Brown (17-Oct-2016)
The Daily Telegraph (7th Jan 2017)
"The southern Rhône is
warm, so 14 per cent is the norm here. This is a lovely vintage, and a bargain
with blackberries, plum and spice. - Hamish Anderson"
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