Domaine la Garrigue was founded in 1850 by the same family that runs the property today, Famille Bernard. Siblings Maxime, Pierre and Martine Bernard, of the 5th generation are at the helm of the estate with Maxime acting as chef with Martine taking care of operations while Pierre focuses on the family’s restaurant nestled in the hills below the Dentelles, Les Florets. Their spouses, 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.
Aged for 18 months in concrete tanks.
Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 5%, Cinsault 5%.
This Vacqueyras possesses a notable meaty quality with firmer tannins and a seriously dense core of black fruit and iron. The nose is of black fruit with a touch of liquirice and very elegant spicy notes. The mouthfeel is full and fleshy with long-lasting fruit flavours. Should you find yourself with a fairly large piece of beef or lamb on your hands you’d be hard–pressed for a more suitable assistant at the table.