The Brunel family has been in Chateauneuf du Pape since the 17th century, following the tradition of winemaking for five generations. In 1954 Lucien Brunel changed the name of the domain to Les Cailloux in order to make a brand that promoted the quality and characteristics of the wines he was making, which shaped the future of this address. In 1971 Andre Brunel took over and was highly motivated to expand the Domaine, purchasing Cote du Rhone and Vin de Pays vines and also creating their flagship wine, the Centenary Cuvée, in 1989. Andre would also change the work in the vineyards as one of the first to shift to a non-chemical approach to wine-growing in Chateauneuf. In 2012 Andre's son Fabrice joined the team, continuing the legacy of this great Chateauneuf family. The goal of Brunel's wines has always been to deliver a high-quality product at reasonable pricing that provides an absolute sense of place, with 21 hectares devoted to vines. 2019 is another marvelous vintage for Brunel on par with 2016, which we called one of the most outstanding vintages ever for this estate. A warm vintage with cool nights helped Grenache excel, which is a significant part of the blend here at 70% Grenache, 17% mourvèdre, 10% syrah, and 3% cinsault. Undoubtedly concentrated from the heat of the vintage but impeccably balanced and structured, this is a sensational wine and one that can be enjoyed now or tucked in the cellar for years on end (we recommend both). It is also an incredible value at this pricing, competing with some of the top producers' bottles like Beaucastel at half the price. As Jeb Dunnuck puts it below, this is one to back the truck up on and is a serious deal not to miss.
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points! "The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape is flat-out brilliant, and readers looking for an incredible wine that will drink well for upwards of two decades should back up the truck on this one. Incredible black cherry, Provençal garrigue, pepper, and licorice notes give way to a full-bodied, perfectly balanced, seamless 2019 with ripe tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. You could safely put this up with the crème de la crème in a blind tasting and it would do just fine. The blend is 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 12% Syrah, and the rest Cinsault, aged mostly in concrete tank, with 12% brought up in old barrels."
Wine Advocate (Joe Czerwinski) 93-95 points! "Substantially darker and more concentrated than the 2018, the sample provided by the Brunels of their 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape shows why Lucien was excited to send it over, despite the vagaries of international shipping. Hints of thyme and lavender accent wonderfully pure black cherries on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is rich and velvety, with a gentle wash of soft tannins on the long finish. It looks to be the best Les Cailloux since the 2016."