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 'Cazau/x'. 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 unripened grapes, believing as many other growers do that this improves the quality of the remaining bunches.
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.