Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2017
Cotes du Rhone
The Guigal family owns some of the most hallowed vineyards in the Rhône Valley and the world and makes some of the most sought-after wines in the world. Yet you are undoubtedly more likely to spend time with them speaking about their Côtes du Rhône Rouge. Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position the Guigals occupy in the Rhône Valley, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
The Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge offers tremendous warmth, spice and pleasure, but in a decidedly individual fashion. It is, unlike virtually every other Côtes du Rhône, based on Syrah, a Northern Rhône approach that lends greater aromatic intensity and structure, though is far more difficult and costly to produce in the Southern Rhône. The aging also goes far other wine in the appellation in its category, a minimum of two years in a combination of stainless steel and foudres, with a deliberate blending over the course of that time that results in a wine of remarkable harmony and complexity. It is an extraordinary value and a benchmark for the region from one of the world’s most lauded producers.
The soils are varied among the 80 growers that Guigal consistently works with, consisting mainly sedimentary, limestone and granite soils, with many pebbles and alluvial deposits. The average yield is around 2.2-2.5 tons per acre, and the average age of the vines is 35 years.
This blend is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre.
The wine experiences a traditional temperature controlled fermentation and long maceration. Guigal ages their Côtes du Rhône Rouge for 18 months in oak barrels. This expensive process results in a wine of unusual complexity, with a substantial and generous palate.
Spring in the South was very wet, interrupting the flowering and causing significant crop loss (up to 40%). The Summer was stable and dry, leading into perfect autumn which allowed even ripening and excellent phenolic development. Harvest took place in late September under clear skies. The reds are classic – with ripe tannins, adequate but fresh acidities, and excellent concentration (due to the low crop).
Deep and dark red. On the nose intensely aromatic, with black fruits and spices. The palate is full, round and sexy. Round and smooth tannins present through the full bodied, ample wine. Overall a complete wine, with a long finish, with elegance and finesse accompanying the abundance of fruit and well-balanced tannins.
What can we say, we have a passion for the city of Lyon. 30 minutes from the Guigal cellars in Ampuis, Lyon can call itself the gastronomic heart of France. The birthplace of French haute cuisine, but a cuisine in general always focused around incredible ingredients properly handled more than a sense of formal stuffiness. And this love of food imbues the every day to an incredible extent. Spectacular charcuterie, patés, game, fruits and vegetables; it’s a cornucopia for wine and food lovers. The culture is warm and friendly, the cuisine reflects that sentiment, and a Côtes du Rhône Rouge from Guigal – an everyday experience turned exceptional. You can find here a few fun charcuterie tips from a friend of Guigal.
Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
Cotes du Rhone
For nearly 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
"With fruit sourced from across the Rhône Valley, the consistency, typicity and quality across all three colors is impressive. The 2017 (red) is a touch darker than the 2016, and I like its deep, brambly nature, with plenty of dark plum and blackberry. It has the warming sunshine that the southern Rhône expresses so well. It’s rounded, generous and full-bodied but with a good sense of inner freshness. The acidity is marked enough to match the concentration and alcohol, leading to a richly fruited finish, with gentle chewy tannins." - M.W.
Vinous Media -
"Saturated ruby. Ripe black raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper, allspice and pungent flowers. Supple, appealingly sweet red and blue fruit preserve flavors gain energy with air, and a bright mineral element adds back-end lift. Supple tannins add shape to a persistent, floral-accented finish, which leaves cherry and spice notes behind."
Other Wines by this Producer
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.
The Guigal family has made serious dry rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also serious and satisfying. While this Rosé is always a lovely aperitif, its intensity and richness make it perfect for the table, and it pairs well with all manner of cuisines. And starting with the 2020 vintage, the wine has a stunning new proprietary bottle: a subtle enhancement for an already elegant wine!
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. The reds, which are the majority of production, have wonderful warm flavors of red and black fruit, and typical Syrah pepper, spice and savory notes.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. 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 expresiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Guigal’s Gigondas is an incredible introduction to serious Southern Rhône reds, and a show-stopper at the price. In the hands of Guigal, the rich ripe fruit and savory character of the wine bursts with sheer pleasure, yet the wine displays terrific refinement, complexity, length and ability to age.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, producing small quantities of extraordinarily intense and ageworthy red wine and tiny amounts of dry white. The entire vineyard consists of 309 acres planted on a single granite hillside on the banks of the Rhône. The Hermitage Rouge is the example of a racy wine, that manages to remain seductive.
Guigal is synonymous with the Côte-Rôtie area, for bringing this great wine region to prominence, and for owning three times as much land as next largest land-owner, vinifiying 1/3 of the total appellation, and unquestionably holding the finest sites in this tiny, special area. The incredible Syrah from this area, co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, has tremendously balanced concentration, depth and finesse.
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.