Readers should note that these cuvees are selected by the American importer, Eric Solomon, and are bottled earlier than those sold elsewhere in the world. Owned by the Bernard family, this is one of the largest (nearly 145 acres) and finest estates in Vacqueyras, so it is not surprising that both the 2006 and 2007 vintages performed well."
Dom. La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2006
Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
A blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2006 Vacqueyras (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre) is also a special bottling for Eric Solomon. A ruby/purple color is accompanied by a sweet bouquet of black cherries, licorice, roasted Provencal herbs, and garrigue. Deep, full-bodied, and intense with beautiful purity, a layered mouthfeel, and a heady finish, it should drink nicely for at least a decade.
Dom. La Garrigue Winery
Domaine de la Garrigue is one of the oldest estates in the southern Rhone Valley region and is owned by the Bernard family. The family owns one of the most famous restaurants and inns in the area called "Les Florets" which is located on the hillside facing the Dentelles in Gigondas. Fashioning some of the most beautiful bottlings of Vacqueyras, Eric Solomon worked with the property to create a custom cuvee of Cotes du Rhone from de-classified Vacqueyras called "Cuvee Romaine."
The climate in the Southern Rhone is extremely warm in the summer, with consistent temperatures in the 90's during July and August. This makes rich, full-bodied, and spicy wines. The soil is similar to that of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with massive rocks called "galets" dotting the vineyards. The old bush vines of Garrigue are planted on these "galets" and for most of the vineyards, there is not soil present to the eye, just rock.
This property focuses on making wines with minimal manipulation to let the terroir speak through the wines. The old vines of Domaine de la Garrigue were planted in the late 1940's, just after the Germans left the area following the second World War. Before the war, the area was planted primarily to other crops, including sunflowers and tomatoes. However, the Romans were making wine here centuries ago and shipping it hundreds of miles away. Hence, the cuvee name "Cuvee Romaine". View all Dom. La Garrigue Wines
About Cotes du RhoneView a map of Cotes du Rhone wineries
The appellation of Côtes du Rhône encompasses much of the land of the area, not to mention much of the wine – over two-thirds of the wine produced here is of the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. Wines here need only be from the Côtes de Rhône geographic area (which is fairly large) and consist of one or more of the 22 varieties permitted. Being such a wide classification, it's a surprise and joy that so many of these wines reach such a high quality. While there are areas in the Northern Rhône that meet the classification of Côtes du Rhône, most all of this appellation is in the Southern Rhône. Wines here are based mostly on Grenache, like other Rhône reds, while the whites focus on Marsanne and Roussanne. Viognier is also allowed although typically used in smaller quantities.
Notable FactsThere is one higher level in the Côtes du Rhône called Côtes du Rhône Villages. These wines are from specific village areas that have a few more standards the wine must reach to receive the village label. Some to take note of are Cairanne, Rasteau, Seguret and Beaumes-de-Venise. The good thing about both Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages is that big producers of the smaller appellations are taking the opportunity and freedom offered by this broad appellation and creating wines of very high quality, and lower in price.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.