Chateau Vrai Caillou is an old estate that has been producing charismatic and polished wines for over a century. Vrai Caillou makes both Claret and Bordeaux Blanc and both wines are extremely good value for money. We have reduced the price by 15% to £8.35 especially for Christmas and hope that you will discover these two little stars for yourself.
Vrai Caillou’s name literally translated means ‘The True Chateau of Rock’. You might think this is an odd name but there is a story behind it.
Firstly ‘caillou’ means ‘pebble, stones or rock’ and you can find examples of chateaux named after pebbles dotted across Bordeaux. Why name a chateau after rocks you might ask? Because the stony ground it sits on is vitally important for growing the vines – most great vineyards lie on slopes or hillsides of gravelly or limestone based soils as vines need good drainage.
Vrai Caillou lies on clay-limestone in the small village of Soussac on the high plateau of the range that divides waters between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers. The chateau actually sits on the slopes of Butte de Launay, the highest point in the region.
Secondly the reason Vrai Caillou is known as ‘The True Chateau of Rock’ stems from the fact that centuries ago it was originally known as Chateau Caillou. Since 1863, Vrai Caillou has been owned by the Pommier family and its wines were noted in the famed Bordeaux wine directory Cocks & Féret in 1879.
However in 1920 the Pommiers discovered that another chateau had registered the name of Chateau Caillou, in Sauternes. Rather than change the name of their chateau Odette Pommier’s response was: “Ah! Yes, is there another Caillou? Then, mine will be the true (Vrai) one!” And that is the story of how the chateau got its name.
Wine production in Soussac dates back to Gallo Roman times (a Roman road runs right through the village) but it was the Benedictine Monks in the Middle Ages who helped to create the reputation of this region and its wines.
The reason that the region attracted monastic settlement is that one of the most important pilgrimage routes in the Christian world runs right through it: the route de Santiago de Compostella (the ‘Way of Saint James’). It was nicknamed the Milky Way by travellers, as according to legend, the Milky Way was formed from the dust raised by travelling pilgrims.
It was the ‘road under the stars’ and the pale arm of the Milky Way stretched out and pointed the way to the edge of the known world: Compostela itself means ‘field of stars‘.
I think that is a rather good analogy for the little chateaux scattered across the area . . . and Vrai Caillou is most definitely one of these ‘stars’.
The Bordeaux Superieur 2009 from Vrai Caillou is a silky, traditional Claret. It has good structure and supple, well balanced tannins. The bouquet is packed with ripe black cherry and cassis and the flavour is full of layers of intense blackcurrants, violets, vanilla, earth and spice. This is a luscious wine – plump and rounded.
Chateau Vrai Caillou “Les Vignes de la Garène” 2010 is a lovely white wine and has aromas of melon, ripe fig and acacia blossom. This is a bright, fresh and elegant wine with flavours of peach and lemon and a hint of smoke and spice.