Crozes-Hermitage brings you into the Northern Rhône Valley, where the red wines have a profile unlike anywhere else in the world, an irresistible combination of warm flavors of red and black fruit, exotic spice notes, and certainly in the case of Crozes, with pleasure and approachability in youth.
It’s important to note that most of Crozes-Hermitage is produced from the plains to the south and east of Hermitage, and these wines tend to be straightforward. Guigal’s approach is to make a more serious Crozes that also has vigor, intensity and depth. In Guigal’s hands, Crozes becomes a wine that delivers quality and pleasure far beyond its price.
Guigal first produced a Crozes-Hermitage in 1999 after the acquisition of low-yielding, hillside vineyards. Since then they have continued to purchase similar quality vineyards, exclusively on hillsides, on soils that tend to limestone, clay silt and sandy gravel, with vine age averaging 35 years. The vineyards are grouped in the north of the appellation, specifically around the villages of Gervans, Mercurol, Larnage and Crozes-Hermitage itself.
This 100% Syrah was fermented in stainless steel tanks and was then aged for 18 months in 228 liter barrels exclusively produced at Guigal’s Chateau d’Ampuis cooperage.
2018 is shaping up to be one of the truly great vintages in the Northern Rhône valley. Following a very wet Spring, Summer was dry and hot – the warmest vintage since 2003. Harvest was quick and early, with yields slightly above average. Fruit was uniformly ripe, resulting in red wines that are dense and concentrated, with exceptionally deep color and rich tannins; similar to 2015, but with even more intensity.
Aromas of smoke, plums and spice burst from the glass, and the palate is rich and dense – packed with fruit which covers the wine’s substantial structure. Thoroughly appealing now, the 2018 will easily last for a decade or more – and impressive and promising introduction to this great Rhône vintage.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Advocate (90-92) - "Tasted against the 2016 and 2017, Guigal's 2018 Crozes Hermitage reveals another level of ripeness and plushness. It's full-bodied, maybe even a little jammy (not a problem at this youthful stage of its evolution), without being heavy or overdone."
Jeb Dunnuck (89-92) -
"I loved the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage, which is similar to the 2017 yet offers a touch more purity of fruit. Blackberries, black raspberries, smoked game, and earth all emerge from this medium to full-bodied effort that’s going to shine right out of the gate."
More on E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2018
June 17, 2021 - Food & Wine contributor Brian Freedman included 2016 E. Guigal Château d'Ampuis Côte-Rôtie and 2018 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage in an article titled, “The 42 Best Syrahs to Buy Right Now.”…
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!
Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, 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.
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.