It’s a phenomenon that has gripped the fine wine world for the past four or five years. With prices and availability of top producers’ wines from the classic regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and Piedmont becoming impossibly hard to secure on release, loyal fine wine consumers are consigned to trawling the secondary market where they are expected to pay exorbitant prices from opportunistic brokers. But among all the fine wine market’s hubris, high demand and heat of the past five years, one classic region has slowly but steadily been on the ascendancy – no, not with prices, but rather with its wine quality.
The DOC of Ribera del Duero is indeed the current darling of fine wine lovers around the world and producers like Garmon, owned by the Garcia family, one of Spain’s most famous winemaking dynasties, seem to have all the right attributes to attract serious drinkers and collectors alike. With Garmon’s current production at around only 5,000 cases per year, this represents approximately a third of what Chateau Latour produces or about half of the production of iconic estates like Chateau Angelus or Bolgheri’s Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia. But of course, Ribera del Duero is no stranger to icon and cult producers with wineries like Vega Sicilia and Dominio de Pingus regarded as some of the greatest wineries in the world of fine wine. Indeed it was Mariano Garcia, the owner of Garmon, who produced some of the most iconic vintages at Vega Sicilia whilst head winemaker there from 1968 to 1998.
The 2018 vintage started quite cold with a generous winter rainfall providing replenishment to the water table after a dry 2017. The winter was cold and challenging, with late frosts that did not harm the vines due to a slow vegetative development as a result of prolonged low temperatures. Spring was rainy and cool, increasing the vigour of the vineyards and requiring a greater leaf thinning program to control the yields. At the end of June, the temperatures reached summer highs and allowed for almost perfect development of the berries. The good weather remained until the end of ripening, with the harvest starting on the 27th of September.
Garmon Continental ‘Garmon’ Tinto 2018, Ribera del Duero DOC, Spain, 14.5% Abv.
The 2018 Garmon is made from pure Tempranillo fruit sourced from several different villages all with a pronounced continental climate and old organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards. The various parcels are fermented individually, village by village with indigenous yeasts and matured in 225 litre French oak barrels for 20 months. The 2018 is a bit of a block buster and shows a wonderfully deep, intense, expansive expression of premium Ribera del Duero boasting complex layers of exotic spices, a sweet intoxicating purple flower perfume, violets, red cherries, strawberries and a seductive blueberry nuance. Below the opulent red and black pastille fruit layers purrs a powerful V8 engine, brimming with a black berry compote intensity, salty black liquorice and hints of dried fennel seeds and woodsmoke. This wine has all the power and purity you could possibly want with invigorating, mouth-watering acids and just the slightest exotic balsamic hint on the long finish. A really impressive creation as well as being incredible value for money.
(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Available from Museum Wines at £42.50 per bottle Inc. https://www.museumwines.co.uk/shop/garmon/2018/garmon-2018/