Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras, La Cantarelle, Rhône, France, 2015
Overview of the Wine
Domaine la Garrigue was founded in 1850 by the same family that runs the property today, Famille Bernard. Brothers Maxime and Pierre Bernard, of the 5th generation, are at the helm of the estate with Maxime acting as chef while Pierre focuses on the family’s restaurant nestled in the hills below the Dentelles, Les Florets. Their wives, children, nieces and nephews all have roles at the domaine and there is plenty of work for all, as this is the largest domaine in the appellation covering 83 hectares. They farm vines of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache Blanc and Clairette on the three primary terroirs of Vacqueyras. The average age of their vines is about 50 years old with some vines well over a century. The reticent but very talented Virginie Combe, a member of the 6th generation, is in charge of the winemaking with guidance from Philippe Cambie.
The traditional structure of the family business carries through to the wines as well. Farming is sustainable – as much for its inherent benefits as a seeming distrust of modernity. In fact a visit to the cellars is like stepping back in time. There’s nary a barrel in sight and the walls are lined with concrete tanks and stainless steel fermenters. Fermentations are conducted on the stems and macerations are long and gentle, followed by reductive aging in concrete. As a result the natural ferocity of the terroirs of Vacqueyras are captured and preserved in each bottle. These are not shy or polished Rhônes but engaging and forceful examples hearkening to the past. Tasting through a series of tank samples of mono-varietial wines you can notice subtle differences in each but the overall impression is a common sense of place and the epitome of Vacqueyras.
Grape / Blend
94 - Jeb Dunnuck
Saddle leather, chocolate, peppery herbs and savory red and black fruits emerge from the 2015 Vacqueyras La Cantarelle. A blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah, it's a ripe, sexy, concentrated 2015 that has terrific tannin quality, a plump, sumptuous texture, and a great finish. It’s a blockbuster Vacqueyras that readers shouldn’t miss! (10/2017)
92 - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Vacqueyras la Cantarelle features wonderfully prominent scents of lavender and bay leaf alongside plenty of raspberry fruit. This medium to full-bodied blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah is supple on the mid-palate, then spicy and firm on the finish, gradually growing into an intense yet elegant wine. Drink it now and over the next 5-8 years. (JC) (10/2017)
92 - Vinous
(aged in concrete vats for 18 months) Lurid ruby. Intensely perfumed raspberry and cherry liqueur, potpourri and Asian spice scents are complemented by a smoky mineral nuance. Juicy, penetrating and appealingly sweet, showing energetic red and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors and chewy texture. Smoothly balances richness and vivacity and shows no excess weight. Finishes very long and nervy, with youthfully firm tannins and a strong echo of candied flowers. (JR) (11/2018)
91 - Wine Enthusiast
Intensely concentrated yet nuanced by earth, spice and flower, this powerful wine originates from 80- to 100-year-old vines of Grenache and Syrah. Luscious blackberry and cherry flavors are persistent and punchy, balanced by crisp acidity and soft, silky tannins. Enjoyable now for its vibrant fruit but should improve through 2026. *Cellar Selection* (AI) (12/2018)