Cote-Rotie, Cotes du Rhone
We can all agree, Cote-Rotie in northern Rhone is one of, if not the spiritual home of Syrah. The Garon family certainly thinks so, having based themselves here, in Ampuis, since the 15th century. The family patriach Jean Garon was born here in 1475, battling hard times and growing grapes for a merchant (Guigal), along with farming fruit. Fast forward a few centuries to 1982, when Jean François and Carmen Garon replanted vines in the abandoned slopes of Cote-Rotie. "It wasn't bad for the vineyards to rest a hundred years between plantings" according to, Jean-Francois!
In 2003, Jean-Francois' sons Kevin and Fabien joined the estate, taking the wines to yet another level. Kevin said “every year, the wine is different. A vintage is often full of memories, a bottle always captures a little bit of the story. In the Cote Rotie more than anywhere we can say that the wine is made in the vineyard, in the middle of the steep and dangerous terraces.”
With about 8.3 hectares, the Garons farm the land organically and even use the horse. Weeding, like most of the vineyard work, is done by hand. This care taken in the vineyard is reflected in wines of great expression and personality. There is no over extraction, with gentle and long vinification bringing finesse. They are seeking a more Burgundian style of Côte-Rôtie.
Cotes du Rhone “La Part des Vivants”
A name which means the wine left for us to drink after the angel share. The grapes come from Ampuis area, declassified Cru Cairanne and also Rasteau fruits. Mostly de-stemmed, traditional vinification. 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Carignan. Aged in very old barrels of 228 litres. Low sulphur. Black fruits, concentrated wild berries, spices, dark chocolate and a slight earthiness. Beautiful acidity and pure with a saline finish.
“Les Grandes Parcelles” IGP Collines Rhodaniennes
100% Syrah, affectionately referred to as ababy Cote Rotie, sometimes including an amount of declassified fruit. Hand harvested, followed by traditional vinification. Elegant, intense with dark cherry, small berries, fine tannins, long balanced finish.
A blend of 25 year old Syrah from plots on decomposed granite from the “Cote Rotie Blond area” (Lieu dit Goutay and Mollard). Handpicked, temperature controlled ferment ans roughly 80% destemmed. Daily punching down and pumping over during alcoholic fermentation, followed by 15 days maceration and 14 months in old French oak barrels. Aromas of blackberry and strawberry with violet, citrus notes as well as grilled bacon. Vibrant fruit on the palate, with rich and round with lush red fruits and blood orange notes lifted by good acidity. Approachable power, the finish is long with deep red fruit ending with a dark earthy minerality. Drink young and over the next ten years.
The Garon also farm: Les Triotes (schist blond area), Les Rochins (Brune area next to La Landonne), Lancement and delicious white IGP Viognier and impressive Condrieu.
"As I wrote last year, the running of Domaine Garon has passed largely to sons Kévin and Fabien Garon, who came on board at the domaine starting in 2003. While quality was reliable in the 2000s, since 2010, everything appears to have been on a steady upward trajectory, with the 2015 being the finest wines I've tasted from the estate, and magical wines produced in both 2017 and 2018. Lovers of pure, classical Côte Rôtie need to get on this estate's bandwagon ASAP!" - Jeb Dunnuck.
Red grape: Syrah
White grape: Viognier