Garon vines in "Le Combard"

Superb 2010 Côte-Rôtie from Domaine Garon!

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For a few years now we've been reading about the fine Côte-Rôties coming from the Garon family - landowners in Ampuis since 1836, but winemakers only since 1992. Given the sensational quality of the 2010 vintage in the Northern Rhône, we have brought in a small quantity of the Garon wines, most notably their "Les Rochins," from a great site on the Côte Brune bordering La Landonne. Our friend Jonathan Livingston-Learmonth, who we feel is the most reliable writer on Rhône wines, has placed this wine in his top ranking of 2010 Côte-Rôtie, along with Rostaing, Barge and Guigal "La La's."

The Garon's plantings began on abandoned vineyard land in 1982, "It wasn't bad for the vineyards to rest a hundred years between plantings" observes Jean-Francois Garon. Grapes were first sold to Guigal, and the first wine, "Les Triotes," on schist soils in the Côte Blonde, was made in 1995. "Les Rochins" was first produced in 2003 and a third cuvée, "La Sybarine," from granite soils in the southern sector was added in 2009. The family, Jean-Francois and Carmen Garon with their sons Kevin and Fabien, are known for the careful work in their four-plus hectares of vineyards. Weeding is by hand, treatments are minimized  and the key to their winemaking is the quality of the fruit. They do not seek extraction, seeking instead a more Burgundian style of Côte-Rôtie. The grapes are partially de-stemmed depending on the vintage and although there is new oak used for the two top cuvées, the wines are firmly in the "clear fruit style" and offer delicioius evidence that genuine Côte-Rôtie is "alive and well."

2010 in Côte-Rôtie - "What fruit, what balance, what richness" says Livingstone-Learmonth, comparing the vintage to 1978. It is indeed a great vintage for the region, as those of you with Gonon Saint-Joseph or Paris Cornas "La Geynale" can attest to. My comparison might be to 1991, a vintage initially down-played by some reviewers, but in which the bright pure fruit was perfectly framed by lifting acids. Although we are firm believers that wine purchases should be based on the grower rather than the vintage (after all, it's what nature gives us) we do have to express our enthusiasm for the 2010 Northern Rhônes. The Garon "La Sybarine" will drink well young and over the next ten to fifteen years while the "Les Rochins" will benefit from further aging and will be superb for twenty years or more. And please don't overlook the "Les Triotes" which is a particularly pleasing and traditional wine in 2009.

 

 

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Garon 2010 Côte-Rôtie La Sybarine

From 25 year-old vines in the parcels "Goutay" and "Mollard" on the Cote Blonde with mostly decomposed granite soils. 100% Syrah, 9,000 vines per hectare, 80 % destemmed, aged in two to eight year old barrels. This is only the second vintage for La Sybarine, a cuvee that shows the more forward fruit of these parcels on granite. The aromas are lovely, mostly blackberry and strawberry confit with violet and citrus notes along with hints of grilled bacon. The palate shows lush red fruits with blood orange and floral notes, lifted by good acidity. The finish is long with deep fruit confit ending with dark earthy mineral acids. This is a beautiful Côte-Rôtie to drink young and over the next ten years, and it's a sensational value.

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  • $33.99

Garon 2009 Côte-Rôtie Les Triotes

From 25 year-old vines mostly in "Les Triotes," also in "Lancement," "Combard" and "Mollard" on shistes blonds, 70% de-stemmed, aged in 25% new oak. Particularly successful in 2009, perhaps due to the high-acidity derived from the shist soils. Elegant melange of dark fruit aromas including cherry (typical to these parcels), blackberry, strawberry liqueur and violets with hints of bacon. The palate is quite dense and earthy with deep black fruits framed in good acidity. At 12.5% alcohol it's quite well balanced, especeially for a 2009. Ideally, wait a few years, peak drinking perhaps 2015 — 2025. A great value!

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  • $34.99

Garon 2010 Côte-Rôtie Les Rochins

From fifteen to twenty year-old vines, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, in the lieu-dit "les Rochins" a very steep parcel next to La Landonne and Cote Rozier on shist soils with iron and clay, giving dark, full-bodied wines that need time. The wine shows deep, creamy blackberry and black cherry liqueur, with herbs, brown spice and hints of smoked meat and vanillin. The palate is very full, round and deep with creamy berry fruit that coats the mouth. Not hot or forced, at 13% alc, it benefits from the acidity and brightness of the 2010 vintage. There is some oak presence that needs to integrate — perhaps wait five to seven years before drinking.  Says Livingston-Learmonth in DrinkRhône "There is flamboyant fruit on the finish. Great potential, a Grand Vin whose balance is good, has a very good foundation...Proper good wine." Need we mention that other top Côte-Rôties will retail for $150 to $300?

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  • $69.99