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Côte-Rôtie Les Rochins, Domaine Garon 2011

Red Wine from France - Rhone
Kevin and Fabien Garon have several plots scattered about this part of the Rhône, and make a number of single-vineyard cuvées such as this. Rochains is a steep slope close to Guigal’s famous La Turque and makes dark, penetrating reds. Perfect with this year’s grouse!
Price: £50.00 Bottle
Price: £300.00 Case of 6
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Code: RH34161

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Bouquet/flavour marked by oak
  • Now to 2026
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Northern Rhône

A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to...
A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to make slightly simpler wines from young vines or from vines that for one reason or another were not included in any appellation.

Seyssuel
There is no appellation Seyssuel. These steep vineyards on the left bank close to Vienne were once famous but fell into obscurity after phylloxera wiped them out in the 19th century. Since the late 1990s, however, there has been a move to reclaim this valuable land for the vine. Many growers are involved here and the results are extremely good. The wines are broadly similar to Côte-Rôtie in style but maybe riper and more dramatic, the vines, after all, face the evening sun and there is more heat here than in Côte-Rôtie. Full appellation status is probably just a few years away after the efforts of Ogier, Villard and Villa have done so much to put it on the map.

Côte-Rôtie
Red only. The “roasted slope”, only half an hour’s drive south of Beaujolais, this northernmost outpost of the syrah grape produces wines that at times can match Burgundy for delicacy and charm. The vineyard is very steep with an incline of as much as 60 degrees. Guigal is the most important producer attracting the highest prices, but there are dozens of smallholders making interesting wines. Guigal has made new oak very fashionable and many growers use it sometimes to excess.

Condrieu
White only from the viognier grape. The scent of apricot in a good example of Condrieu is almost intoxicating. Rapid expansion of vineyards means that there are lots of young vines and therefore wines that lack substance, so there is good reason to get to know the better growers, such as André Perret, François Villard and Christophe Pichon, and follow them..

Saint-Joseph
Reds from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne; reds are more exciting. The best Saint-Josephs have class and can be good value. Some of the best slopes are only now being replanted after years of neglect, so huge potential. Many top producers have started to bring out single-vineyard Saint-Josephs. All can be brilliant and though pricey, offer better value than top-end Côte-Rôties for example. Look for the grower’s name.

Crozes-Hermitage
Reds are made from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne. Crozes-Hermitage accounts for more than half of the northern Rhône and its wines are plentiful and accessible. Reds are better than whites. Crozes-Hermitage comes in two parts. The largest is on the flat, close to the river and what would have been a river bed. It produces deeply coloured reds that are soft and fruity and without question a perfect introduction to the syrah of the north. The other part is behind the hill of Hermitage, sometimes on granite but mostly on white clay and limestone. This is the historic heart of Crozes producing wines of interest and substance and the whites from here can be outstanding too.


Hermitage
Syrah for reds, marsanne with a little roussanne for whites. This amazing southfacing slope has the greatest pedigree of any wine in the Rhône Valley. Its complex geology ensures added interest and complexity and in good years, Hermitage may sit at the highest tables. The downside is that the quality and reputation of Hermitage wines from the best producers means that there is a very limited supply of the best wines, and prices are set to rise.


Cornas
Red only from syrah. It is a small appellation nestling in a half amphitheatre of mostly granite, all facing fully south. The climate here is significantly warmer so Cornas is often among the first to harvest. Wines are black, thick and often tannic in their youth. Style is changing and quality is on the up, almost matching Hermitage. Cornas remains an uncompromising wine and rewards good food. Always decant.

Saint-Péray
White only made from marsanne and roussanne. The granite of Cornas gives way to limestone. The wines have more acidity and keep well. For some unaccountable reason, historically, most of the wine was sparkling but mercifully things are changing. There is big potential for fine whites. Producer’s name is essential.

The Drôme Valley
This is a major tributary of the Rhône that rises in the Alps and joins up with the Rhône to the south of Valence. At the western end there are a few vineyards, mostly of syrah and sold as Côtes-du- Rhône Brézème. This is rare, very little known and amazingly good-value source for Crozes-like reds. Further east, the landscape becomes more mountainous and the grapes mostly white, clairette and muscat and wines are mostly sparkling. Clairette de Die is light and sweet, a bit like Italian Asti, while Crémant de Die is dry and full-flavoured.
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Domaine Garon

Domaine Garon, at Ampuis in the northern Rhône, is run by a close-knit family in the form of Jean-François and Carmen Garon with their sons Kevin and Fabien. The arrival of the two boys made an immediate and positive impact on the quality of the vines and in some of the methods adopted in the cellars.

The vineyards, all syrah, cover 5 hectares of granite, white and brown schist, and each terroir has its own influence on the Côte-Rôtie wines produced.

Kevin and Fabien, after refurbishing the vineyards and rebuilding the cellar have made changes in the winemaking too, beginning with destemming of the majority of the grapes as they arrive at the winery and cutting the time in cask from 24 months to 18 while reducing the amount of oak that is new. As a result the fruit expresses itself more clearly and the structure is a touch more supple, without sacrificing the concentration and balance that will allow them to age gracefully.

The top wine, Les Rochains, comes from an excellent site on the Côte Brune, close to the renowned La Turque vineyard, while Les Triotes hails from parcels on the Côte Blonde.

Rhône Vintage 2011

2011 was the third vintage in a row with its own style and character. The wines are generously flavoured, ripe tasting and with exceptionally smooth tannins. Cool summer temperatures helped, and the wines have sap and, as many growers put it, ‘belle frâicheur’.

The weather was remarkable in that it started and ended with a heatwave punctuated by a cold and wet July in the middle. What had looked like being an early vintage, following an early and abundant flowering, ended up later than most recent vintages, but that extra time on the vine has resulted in extra concentration and depth of flavour. Clear skies and the Mistral wind meant a harvest of healthy grapes in ideal conditions. Patience had been needed as there was uneven ripening of some varieties.

Northern Rhône
The syrah grape made beautifully balanced wines in 2011. Soft, rounded tannins underpin a core of ripe fruit. The wines are sensuous, sleek and pure. Hermitage has real depth and majesty, as does Cornas. Côte-Rôtie and...
2011 was the third vintage in a row with its own style and character. The wines are generously flavoured, ripe tasting and with exceptionally smooth tannins. Cool summer temperatures helped, and the wines have sap and, as many growers put it, ‘belle frâicheur’.

The weather was remarkable in that it started and ended with a heatwave punctuated by a cold and wet July in the middle. What had looked like being an early vintage, following an early and abundant flowering, ended up later than most recent vintages, but that extra time on the vine has resulted in extra concentration and depth of flavour. Clear skies and the Mistral wind meant a harvest of healthy grapes in ideal conditions. Patience had been needed as there was uneven ripening of some varieties.

Northern Rhône
The syrah grape made beautifully balanced wines in 2011. Soft, rounded tannins underpin a core of ripe fruit. The wines are sensuous, sleek and pure. Hermitage has real depth and majesty, as does Cornas. Côte-Rôtie and Crozes are more variable but top producers made remarkable wines. Saint-Joseph was uniformally gorgeous, especially at the southern end.

Southern Rhône
What a vintage! Sometimes surpassing 2010 with wines that have more warmth, and soft, sweet and spicy flavours that we crave. The northern band of villages, which includes Vinsobres, Valréas and Uchaux, is outstanding and the wines perfectly balanced, and the same is true for west-bank villages like Lirac and Laudun. For the central belt of villages that includes everything from Cairanne to Gigondas, 2011 is fine, sometimes brilliant vintage of very full-bodied wines. Patience was a particular virtue for growers here, and the late harvesting Gigondas growers had a very good vintage indeed. Also, mourvédre deserves a special mention as it performed so beautifully in 2011. Châteauneuf blends that included a significant portion of mourvédre were magnificent.

Picked earlier, the whites benefited hugely from the cold snap of July and early August. The wines were lithe, fine and classy with each variety clearly defined.
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2011 vintage reviews

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