Grape(s): Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault
Localization: Châteauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhône, France
Tasting Notes: The Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux opens with a bouquet of dominant aromas of red fruits enhanced by a touch of oak from the barrel-contained Syrah gives way to a palate of juicy, red fruits, leather, and a touch of earth. The tannins are harmonious and elegant and the long finish imparts further nuances of earth and leather. This wine is a model of complexity and elegance with an exceptional aging capacity.
Food pairing: Pair this wine with red meat or any of your favorite rich game dishes.
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: I've tasted many vintages of the Brunels' wines, and 2016 looks as if it will be their best ever. The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape stood out in my blind tasting, offering incredible complexity and lightness despite being full-bodied. Roses, garrigue and dried spices accent raspberries and cherries in a wine that's concentrated and intense yet agile, with nuances galore. It's 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and 5% Cinsault and will have aged 18 months (mainly in concrete) prior to bottling.
The Domain: The Brunel family’s winemaking history reaches back to the 17th century with the purchase of a vineyard plot to the north of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation from the Bishop of Avignon. Numerous generations followed, all working in the vineyards, but it was in 1954 that Lucien Brunel created the name "Les Cailloux" or "The Pebbles" to promote the Domaine’s wine qualities and special geological characteristic of the large oval stones covering his vineyards.
In 1971, Lucien’s son André Brunel took the helm at Domaine Les Cailloux. His endless motivation and eye for quality resulted in a steady expansion of the family’s vineyards with acquisitions in the Côtes du Rhône and select plots of Vaucluse Vins de Pays. In 1989 he launched the now coveted Cuvée Centenaire and continued to improve the vineyard management practices. André was one of the first in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to use tailored ground cover methods and to practice a non-chemical approach to farming his vineyards.
In 2012, André’s son, Fabrice Brunel, joined the team to ensure the family’s history and passion would continue. The pursuit for quality; the utmost respect for the land; and the drive to produce beautiful wines, which are both enjoyable in the immediate present as well as in future years with excellent aging potential, the Brunel family is meticulous in cultivating vineyards, sourcing quality grapes, and winemaking style.