The 2007 release of this wine is getting good press on wine message boards. If this 2006 is any indication, it's a Cotes du Rhone worth seeking out.
The color is a deep, plummy red, darker than a typical Cotes du Rhone. It could have some new oak treatment, but if so it was very skillfully handled because everything else about this wine is true to its Southern Rhone traditions. The aromas of the garrigue (Provencal herbs) come out to greet you at the first sniff along with blueberries, black licorice and Vacqueyras minerals. The estate is located in Vacqueyras, and the wine is very much like a good Vacqueyras...but at a Cotes du Rhone price. Bold peppery, spicy Grenache flavors add to the complexity and the finish is long and ripe.
The Bernard family who run Les Florets, a beautiful country inn near Gigondas, produce this wine, apparently with the assistance of wine consultant Phillipe Cambie. I enjoyed the La Garrigue Vacqueyras while staying at Les Florets several years ago, and I'd be quite happy to re-visit both the Cotes du Rhone and the Vacqueyras frequently in the months ahead.