Clos des Cazaux is a family-run wine domaine that has been growing vines and making wine for five generations, starting with our ancestor Gabriel ARCHIMBAUD at the turn of the twentieth century. He was the first man to sell Vacqueyras wine in bottles, with the village and estate name on the label. The domaine is now run by Jean-Michel and Frédéric VACHE.
130,000 bottles a year from our plot selections
50% of sales are international (Belgium, England, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, U.S.A., Canada, etc.).
The estate is divided into 2 main blocks:
• 20 hectares surrounding the building, situated on the very special terroirs of the Vacqueyras appellation, namely Miocene safres and marls which represent only 10% of the appellation’s surface area laid out on hillsides, enabling us to produce white, rosé and red Syrah-based wines of the highest quality.
• 15 hectares of hillside at the southernmost tip of the Gigondas appellation, in the heart of the magnificent Dentelles de Montmirail massif. They are dominated by the remains of an ancient fort tower dating back to the 8th century: “la Tour Sarrasine”, owned by the family since the fifties. This very special terroir gives our Gigondas the power and richness of the south-facing slope, balanced by the coolness of high-altitude nights and clay soils.
The grape varieties are mainly Grenache noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre. However, we are keen to include in our blends some of the appellation’s “forgotten” grape varieties, such as Aubun, Counoise, Cinsault, Muscardin and Carignan.
For our white wines, we use mainly old Clairette vines, complemented by Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and a little Viognier.
The Vache and Archimbaud families are among the oldest in the village of Vacqueyras. In fact, they were already present on the first Clerical registers of the 17th century.
The oldest part of the building (now the tasting cellar) dates back to the 12th century and is said to have belonged to the Knights Templar. A farmer was in charge of livestock and crops. This farmer was called “Chasal”, a word that over time was to become “Cazaux”, the current name of the estate.
The first vineyard was planted in the mid-19th century, on the poorest terroirs where nothing else could grow. At a time when food sufficiency was a central concern, the vines simply ensured the family’s consumption of wine. In the 20th century, vine cultivation intensified, becoming a monoculture from 1957, immediately after the catastrophic frosts of 1956, which devastated olive, apricot and cherry orchards.
In those years, major decisions were made:
In the early 1950s, the Archimbaud family pioneered the marketing of their bottled wine, enlarged by consolidating the land around the Cazaux building, to create a 20-hectare estate. At the same time, we acquired 40 hectares in the Dentelles de Montmirail at Gigondas, as well as the remains of the ancient “Tour Sarrasine”.
From 1970 onwards, our father Maurice VACHE and his wife Lucette Archimbaud grown with passion the “clos” vines and, at the same time, creating a magnificent 15-hectare hillside vineyard amidst the woods of the Dentelles de Montmirail massif in Gigondas.
From the 80s, the couple decided to develop the bottle side of the estate, creating another cellar and gradually moving into foreign sales, which at the time were more than confidential in Vacqueyras. Together, in 30 years of hard work and passion for wine, they gave the estate its reputation among wine lovers the world over.
They were joined by their two sons: Jean-Michel in 1990, after obtaining a BTS in wine-making and marketing, and Frédéric in 1998, an oenologist trained in Dijon after winemaking experience in South Africa. Since 2010, it’s their turn to set the course. They look after the estate with care and passion. They have created the premium wines that you can enjoy now and intend to pass it on to the next generation!
Extract from the book “Gigondas ses vins, sa terre, ses hommes” published by Bottin Gourmand
In 25 years of hard work and passion for wine, Maurice and Lucette Vache have created all the Clos des Cazaux cuvées that have forged the estate’s reputation among wine lovers the world over.
They were joined by their two sons: Jean-Michel in 1990 and Frédéric in 1998. Today, they look after the estate with care, passion and generosity, and get on well together. But they’re so different! Jean-Michel is a real mine of energy, giving rhythm and meaning to every situation, always positive and clear in his choices: he combines creativity and rigor. It’s Latin in the truest sense of the word. It’s easy to imagine him in the 2nd century, in the same place, wearing a tunic on a subligaculum with caligae, organizing the cultivation of the centuries that a consul had assigned to him. Frédéric is as calm as his brother is electric: he’s driven by reflection, the hindsight that enables him to make the best decision. He’s meticulous and thoughtful. This craftsman’s proverb could easily apply to him: “to work fast, you have to work slow”. To form such a harmonious duo, beyond appearances, Frédéric and Jean-Michel have in common everything their parents passed on to them. It belongs to them.