It was the summer of 2011 when the first Domaine La Garrigue, Cotes du Rhône, was first opened by us. Nearly a year ago to the day, to be exact. I remember clearly, for it was when I was reintroduced to a little episode titled “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Since that fantastic, revelatory evening we have opened many bottles, trying to decode and explore its finest, brooding secrets. This also lead to the purchase of an entire case (our first case; something we thought we’d never do) and has been causing quite the clutter in our petite wine rack ever since. We love a full wine rack, though; we can’t complain about copious amounts of anything – I can’t even help revering my tall spired canister of oatmeal.
The case of this wine served two purposes: 1) we really dig the wine–being a very frugal twelve dollar wine that tastes phenomenal, and 2) the case, and a few charming bottles, served as props for the short film “The Apogee” The bottle had that bodacious, ubiquitous curvature that also sported that classic green, dirty moss tint. It was photogenic, perfect; and the prop department
took off some of the labels and replaced them with their own for the film (see side photograph). It was important to have the wine showcased in the film–a film about “the apogee of all wines”–to actually have a stellar wine on screen, handled and drunk by the lucky actors who each got their own bottles after wrapping principle photography. It felt more genuine that way.
Now, on to decoding “The Beast,” as we call it. It is so named due to its monstrous effects and disastrous decimation of basic motor function after just one bottle, split between we two reviewers. This Cotes du Rhône is only 14.5%, but something tells us this is misleading–that or we just find ourselves either far too hungry before imbibing or else we simply feel a little giggly with excitement before hand. Whatever the case may be, brace yourself; for The Beast is as potent as Hemingway con bebida: astonishingly lit and still full of wit. The wine is surprisingly effervescent, which is seen by many to be a flaw in the wine making process. We believe this to be true, yet I would have to disagree in this case; the slight fizz that dances around your tongue, embracing, caressing and galloping jauntily to your throat really helps round off, strengthen and accentuate the wine’s smooth balance. La Garrigue is also a very dark wine. So much so that it would appear that this wine may have some years on her, yet. My guess: eight or so before its eligible for a euthanasia. However you feel about dark, tannic wines, and this is the Achilles heel of this wine: it may be a tad too dry. La Garrigue has a habit of taking your mouth’s moisture reserves and keeping them for its own devious devices. What it does with it, I fear to know. That said, not so hard to take down in an hour or two’s time unlike other, harsher, tannic leviathans we’ve partaken.
Domaine La Garrigue, Cotes du Rhône 2009 – $12 – 14.5%
– Inky. Apt to stain your mouth. Some substantial sediment with every bottle we’ve had.
– Minerality is most present with some flutters of forrest floor, plum and oak. It’s not the most giving wine, redolently, but secret layers do reveal in time.
– A slight effervescence that helps, not detracts. There is a bold meatiness on the palette with dark, chert and clay undertones. Chewy, filling and bonesucking prevail at the back end; although the harshness is easy to swallow and studious. The only concern with balance is the harsh, young and idealistic tannins that should mellow with age.
Overall: Worthy. La Garrigue is twelve dollars, offers grand discoveries, will age for years to come and offers some heightened spirits and many loquacious hours.
Quote of The Evening:
“You need to mention in your quotes: Spock. He deserves to be taken as more of a sex object.”