GARMÓN CONTINENTAL 2016
Lukasz and myself are well and working very hard sending cases of lockdown wines all around the country, as well as getting organized with our various producers to get all the samples in for my tastings.
Regular readers of these missives of mine would expect a flurry of Bordeaux en primeur reports and offers at this time of the year, alas that is not to be this time around. Still, as you can see in the picture below, I have lined up a good range of substitutes to look forward to in the coming weeks (Ornellaia, Serre Nuove, Saffredi, Poggio Valente, 904, Catena Zapata and more on the way).
I shall start this non-Bordeaux season with what I consider to be one of the strongest candidates for the next wine superstar:
To refresh your memory, Garmón is the latest project by Mariano Garcia and his sons Eduardo and Alberto (1st vintage being 2014). They also own Mauro and San Roman, and Mariano is Technical Director of Aalto (not to mention an ex MD of Vega Sicilia for over 30 years). The idea at Garmón is to make a more traditional, small production winery using the fruit from the old plots (over 40 y old) with native clones in some of the best villages in upper parts of Ribera del Duero (Baños, Tubilla, La Aguilera and Moradillo). These villages are located in the higher, cooler areas of Upper Duero, with a longer ripening and later harvesting cycle. This gives them a chance to produce juicy, fragrant wines but with great freshness and elegance. The slow maturation is contributing to very fine tannins with intense, complex aromas producing classic, refined, long lasting wines.
GARMÓN CONTINENTAL 2016 - £165.00 per case of 6 in bond.
I have tasted 2016 Garmón 5 times during maturation in the cellar; initially samples from different villages in separate barrels and eventually the final blend prior to bottling. It was always very impressive in its power and intensity, feeling very much at ease with wood underneath it. One thing that stood out at all times was the extremely refined tannins in the background. It was quite tight immediately after bottling as one would expect, but started showing aromatic complexity as early as 3 months after bottling. It blossomed into an exceptional glass of wine when opened last Saturday. Genuinely, the only reason that I have added a minus next to my 19 score, was to try and control my enthusiasm for it. Thanks to the high elevation of the vineyards where the fruit comes from Garmón displays freshness and vibrancy that one finds in the finest of great wines of Bordeaux, but with an extra layer of intensity. It is really difficult to say what is more impressive here: the purity of black autumn fruit; the aromatic complexity that seems to be growing by the minute or the refined silky tannins that hold it all together (one can barely detect any wood despite the fact that it spent 16 months in barrique). This would be an exceptional drop of vino even at double the money they are asking.
With the production in 2016 of only 50,000 bottles (not much more than Masseto) and the level of recognition for quality that Ribera is now getting from the wine world, this is about as safe a place to allocate part of your annual wine budget as I can think of. Once you taste this, the biggest issue for those of you with investment in mind would be how to let go of it. It is extremely attractive to drink now, but will handsomely repay 5- 8 years of storage (if you can resist).
One of those wines that immediately brings a smile to one's face. Not to be missed.
with all good wishes,