Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2018
Côtes du Rhône
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône’s production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley. It is a beautiful, seamless wine that represents unbelievable value.
Guigal produces an almost completely distinct Côtes du Rhône Blanc due to their Northern Rhône mindset. Wines under this general appellation are dominated by Southern Rhône grapes, namely Grenache Blanc. Since 1991 the Guigals have searched for and worked with growers to encourage plantings of Viognier for their Côtes du Rhône Blanc, as they have a love story with this grape that was nearly extinct in the middle of the last century. They believe the Viognier adds critical freshness and aromatics to the other varieties. The wine is a blend of 60% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc and 2% Grenache Blanc.
Handled at low temperatures and then fermented 100% in stainless steel tanks. While the key to this wine is its play of freshness with the expressive, concentrated fruit, it has complexity that means it benefits from some aging and development. It was held until 9 months after harvest in stainless steel.
The 2018 vintage in the Rhône was marked by wet weather through the end of June followed by a relatively hot and dry summer and fall. Quantities in the north were exceptional, while in the south crop levels were impacted by the excessive heat and also mildew. All told, 2018 is an excellent vintage of great ripeness, concentration and structure, suffering only from a markedly smaller crop in the south.
A bright, golden color on first look. A fresh note marked by distinctive Viognier aromas of white flowers, apricot, acacia and white peach. The fruits come through on the palate, with plenty of richness and body. A well-rounded wine with elegance, power and balance.
Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier
Côtes du Rhône
For 4 decades Guigal has used only environmentally sustainable methods of pest, disease and weed control. They work to conserve biological diversity, water resources, soils and ecosystems on their land. Packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable. Lastly, they are committed to achieving a zero waste target.
Suggested Retail Price
Vinous Media -
"Light yellow. Mineral-tinged aromas of Meyer lemon, pear and white peach are complemented by a suave floral overtone. Juicy, pure and energetic on the palate, offering pliant orchard and pit fruit and honeysuckle flavors that show sharp definition and back-end lift. Rich but energetic as well, delivering strong finishing cut and lingering florality. The Viognier is definitely making itself heard here."
Jeb Dunnuck - "The quality of this cuvée has soared over the past decade, and the 2018 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is another terrific vintage. Tasting like a mini Condrieu with its floral, orange blossom, and honeysuckle aromas and flavors, it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and lively on the palate, with an attractive mix of richness and freshness."
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Other Wines by this Producer
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Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expressiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Even more of a discovery is Hermitage Blanc, one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley and in the small 309 acre Hermitage AOC.