This is undoubtedly one of the more fascinating wines that I have tried this year, 2016 Ribera del Duero 'Garmón', Bodegas Garmón Continental, offered here at £165 per 6 bottle case in bond.
I eagerly awaited the delivery of a sample of 2016 Garmón, knowing that it was the third vintage of the new project from the García family. Simply put, it certainly didn’t disappoint, and in fact, the favourable pricing was the principal surprise. While I would say that my interest in Spanish wine is tightly focused, I prefer styles that capture freshness and poise, rather than those that are heady and overt, I have been a fan of wines from the various García projects for some time; namely San Roman in Toro and Aalto in the Ribera del Duero, both of which we have offered before.
Mariano García was actually born at perhaps the greatest estate in Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia, as his parents were vineyard workers. He went on to become head winemaker at the age of 24 and oversaw 30 vintages of Vega Sicilia before leaving to set up Bodegas Aalto in 1999, when he teamed up with Javier Zaccagnini, a talented viticulturalist. Since its inception, Aalto has gone from strength to strength, combining Mariano’s winemaking skill and Javier’s impeccable understanding of vineyard management.
In 2014, Mariano and his sons, Eduardo and Alberto, embarked on a new project in the Ribera del Duero, Bodegas Garmón, a name which combines the identities of the owners, the García and Montana families. It is situated in the village of Olivares de Duero, not that far from the family’s other major interest, Bodegas Mauro. They have now built a winery in Olivares and the 2017 was the first vintage of Garmón to be made there; the first three vintages were made at Bodegas Aalto.
The fruit for Garmón comes from old vine parcels scattered across various villages in the region, including principally vineyards in La Aguilera, which is rated for its finesse, Moradillo de Roa (a high altitude site approaching 1000 metres), but also vineyards based on the more chalky soils found at Tubilla del Lago, Baños and Hontoria de Valdearados. If one thing is be taken by their various projects, it’s that the García family have proven themselves expert at identifying the very best sources of fruit, and the quality they deliver more than bears out the old adage that wine is made in the vineyard.
Please see a selection of notes below, starting with my own. I have included Tim Atkin’s note as he writes one of the more in-depth reviews on the region as well as Luis Guiterrez’s note from The Wine Advocate.
2016 Ribera del Duero 'Garmón', Bodegas Garmón Continental
£165 per 6 bottle case in bond
Scented, vibrant, deep berry fruit. Spiced raspberry, loganberry, violet with creamy, toasted oak very much as a back note. Juicy, exuberant yet refined. A sense of measured ripeness, building intensity and a glossy, sleek impression from finely-expressed tannins. Nothing harsh or drying, indeed none of that raw feel of some Ribera. This is sophisticated juice; long, pure and mouth-filling. Comfortably the most exciting newcomer I have tasted from this region for some time, and at a price point which belies its quality. This is the real deal – I expect a loyal following to develop for this superb Ribera – I couldn’t put the glass down! Drink 2020-2030.
96 points, Tim Atkin MW, Ribera Del Duero Top 100
Mariano García’s brilliant project gets its fruit from four different villages with altitudes up to 1,000 metres. This scented, deeply coloured cuvée is floral, fresh and poised, with gratifying freshness and potential. Drink 2022-2035
93 points, Luis Guiterrez, The Wine Advocate
Cropped from a cooler year, the 2016 Garmón is fresher, cooler and juicier, with elegant and polished tannins. The process is similar every year, and the differences are mostly due to vintage variations, but in this vintage, they used a higher percentage of used barriques for the élevage (50/50 new and used). 2016 is fresher, more elegant and a little lighter. It has a medium to full body and some grainy tannins. Give it a little more time before you pull the cork. 50,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2018. Drink 2019-2026.
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All the best,