90+ Bargains: 2010 Domaine la Garrigue Vacqueyras (RP91, $17.95)

February 7, 2013 90+ Bargains  No comments

You’re going to start noticing a theme on this blog.  Rhone varietals, specifically Grenache and Syrah, are where it’s at when it comes to value.  I enjoy a fine Napa Cabernet, French Bordeaux, or Italian Barolo as much as anyone, but if I’m picking a wine off a wine list, or for my personal weeknight enjoyment, I pick a Southern Rhone or domestic Syrah every time.  Why?  It’s simple.  Value.  It’s easy to get a fantastic Napa Syrah but it will cost you.  Not the case for Rhone varietals – domestic or international.

Vacqueyras wines are often called “mini Chateauneuf du Papes” but this is a wine many CdPs should look up to. It’s a full-bodied, concentrated and peppery wine that, at the same time, remains somewhat delicate and refined. A base of Grenache with a spot of Syrah and Mourvedre for good measure, this is pretty much textbook Southern Rhone.  The best Southern Rhone vintage in the last few decades (2010), a 91 and 92 point score, in addition to a price tag well under $20 – which also happens to be the lowest in the country – make this another steal and fitting debut for our 90+ Point Bargains category.

Buy Here: 2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras $17.95

Robert Parker 91 points

“The 2010 Vacqueyras Traditionelle (15% natural alcohol) is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah and the rest equal parts Cinsault and Mourvedre aged in tank and wood foudres. It offers sexy, open-knit notes of kirsch, black currants, loamy soil, pepper and garrigue. This opaque ruby/purple-hued, seductive, luscious, full-bodied Vacqueyras should drink nicely for a decade.

One of the most respected estates in Vacqueyras, Domaine La Garrigue owns over 150 acres (the Bernard family actually owns nearly 200 acres throughout the southern Rhone) from which they produce traditional Vacqueyras. The American importer, Eric Solomon, persuaded proprietor Maxime Bernard to bottle his cuvees meant for the USA market slightly earlier than normal as well as without filtration. Domaine La Garrigue has about 10 acres in Gigondas from which they produce 300+ cases from 60-year-old vines planted in chalky clay and stony soils. The blend tends to be about 75% Grenache and the rest mostly Syrah with a touch of Cinsault, and everything is aged in concrete vats.”

Rhone Report 92 points

“Beautiful stuff and a classic Vacqueyras that’s a non-destemmed, concrete aged blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and small amounts of Mourvedre and Cinsault, the 2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras offers up lovely blackberry and assorted red fruits, green herbs, licorice, and loads of exotic flower like qualities. This medium to full-bodied, balanced, and elegant 2010 has building richness and a lively, energetic feel on the palate. It is delicious now, but will be even better in another year or two, and have upwards of a decade of overall longevity.”

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