Domaine la Garrigue, Vacqueyras 2009
Available at Suburban Wines and Spirits
Approximate retail cost: $25
Rhône Wines in the Fall: Romancing the Season
Classic French wines, especially ones from the Rhône, remind me of the Louis Armstrong song “A Kiss to Build a Dream On.” If Domaine la Garrigue, Vacqueyras 2009 is the kiss, then the dream might be something along the lines of walking through ancient woods during twilight, lungs full of cool autumn air, listening to your own boot steps as they crunch through layers of fallen leaves, and eventually finding your way home to a slow-burning fire and the chance to finish the glass of Vacqueyras poured earlier that day.
Although Rhônes can certainly be enjoyed all year, many of these opulent reds are best relished in the fall. Maybe it is something about the coolness of the air or the knowledge that night will come earlier and soon it will be cold even as the sun shines brightly. Rhône wines suggest ripeness, from their saturated purple color to the concentration of flavors highlighting a spectrum of dark fruits and berries supported by seductive smokiness and freshly cracked black pepper. With every vintage, these wines reap the full benefit of summer’s sun.
The Rhône valley itself follows the Rhône River for 150 miles, the length of which yields a wide variety of soil types and unique microclimates. This makes it possible to grow many different types of grapes in the long, hot and dry growing season. Not surprisingly, the tradition in the southern Rhône is to blend liberally; producers are allowed up to 13 different indigenous varieties in their cuvées. Layers of pleasure are achieved through a mélange, with each grape playing an important role: grenache adding juicy cherry, current and licorice flavors; Syrah contributing firm tannins, along with a flashy blackberry-and-pepper combination; and Mourvèdre providing age-ability and heft wrapped inside plum, red meat and truffle notes.
Domaine la Garrigue is such a cuvée, the blend itself abbreviated as GSM. It will deliver much of the dream-building sensory experience that reminds us all why the classics keep us coming back for more.
Enjoy with dishes of the season, such as mushroom soup and cassoulet, with rustic and crusty French breads.
Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes.