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Domaine la Garrigue

Domaine la Garrigue was founded in 1850 by the same family that runs the property today, Famille Bernard. Brothers Maxime […]

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Domaine la Garrigue

Domaine la Garrigue was founded in 1850 by the same family that runs the property today, Famille Bernard. Brothers Maxime Bernard-Cosme of the 5th generation of Bernards manages the estate while her brother Pierre Bernard focuses on Les Florets, the family’s charming inn and restaurant nestled in the foothills hills below the Dentelles de Montmirail. Their spouses, children, nieces, and nephews all have roles at the Domaine with plenty of work to go around between the Les Florets and Domaine de la Garrigue’s 83 heactares.

Each visit seems like a lesson in relearning how everyone is related and like all family-run businesses there are some on the rise and others on their way out. Visits from US are treated like a holiday and the tastings are a chaotic affair of varying opinions, arguments, and planty of gossip. Luckily for us, Maxime’s daughter Virginie Combe has been in charge of the winemaking for well over a decade making polished wines that do not shy away from the polished rusticity we love about this estate. A part of the European Cellars portfolio for over twenty years, Domaine de la Garrigue remains one of our most traditional estates in the Southern Rhône alongside Château du Mourre du Tendre. Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache Blanc and Clairette represented at the estate with Grenache making up about half of their hectares. Vine age averages 50 years-old, with many vines with well over a century behind them.

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 is captured and preserved in each bottle. These are not shy or polished Rhônes but engaging and forceful examples hearkening to the past. Tasting through a series of tank samples of mono-varietal wines, you can notice subtle differences, but the overall impression is a shared sense of place and the epitome of Vacqueyras.

Over the time we’ve worked with Domaine la Garrigue, we’ve witnessed a gradual evolution in the wines. They have become purer without losing their original charm or drastically changing their style. These wines are the very essence of the South of France. The appellation itself is rather firmly in the shadow of Gigondas to the north and Châteauneuf to the west. Raised to cru status in 1990, Vacqueyras is old enough to have reasonably decent name recognition but not quite young enough for cool-kid-street-cred. There are three terroirs in Vacqueyras: the red-clay-under-galets plateau of la Garrigue (not coincidentally where Domaine la Garrigue is located), the sand soils around the village of Vacqueyras and the rocky limestone slopes at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Each terroir contributes to the final blends at la Garrigue: power from the plateau, finesse from the sand, and structure from the limestone slopes. Each terroir also benefits the varieties planted at the Domaine, with Grenache and Mourvèdre favoring the hot and rocky plateau, Grenache Blanc, and Clairette preferring the sandy soils (along with some additional Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault), and the limestone slopes being the ideal place for Syrah.


“Readers need to be careful buying these wines as there are multiple cuvees and significant differences in the quality. The best cuvees are all made by the famed southern Rhone oenologist Philippe Cambie and represented in the United States by importer European Selections (Eric Solomon). These wines (*) are custom cuvees bottled unfined and unfiltered for Solomon. They are different from bottlings sold elsewhere in the world. Solomon believes in getting the wines in the bottle much earlier than the proprietor, and I tend to agree.”

– Robert Parker
Rhône, France
  • Location
    Rhône, France
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Famille Bernard
  • Winemaker
    Virginie Combe
  • Size / Elevation
    83 hectares / 110 average meters
  • Age of Vines
    30-100+ years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
    Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Clairette
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, lightly crushed but not destemmed, fermented in tank, aged in concrete
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