The last decade has brought vastly increased interest to Gigondas, as the quality potential has been increasingly recognized. The Guigals have been deeply involved in Gigondas for well over 50 years, and it brings them great pleasure to see the increasing interest and appreciation of the appellation. We consider Guigal’s Gigondas the “quiet storm” among their village wines. While they have been widely known for their Châteauneuf-du Pape also produced in the Southern Rhône, and they are increasingly important in Crozes-Hermitage in the North, the Gigondas is the wine that when poured jumps up and down and demands attention. It’s a wine of sheer pleasure, full of ripe fruit, and with a depth and even slightly brooding sense that comes from the important Mourvèdre component. Yet is has refinement, complexity, length, and has a terrific ability to age.
The vineyards of Gigondas are planted on hillsides at the foot of Mont Ventoux, directly north-east of the town of Orange in the southern Rhône Valley. The dry, stony slopes produce substantial wines that are deep in color, with flavors of ripe summer fruits and savory herbs.
Guigal selects wines from small domaines to produce a blend which is true to the appellation, yet polished, refined, and capable of aging many years. The wines see a traditional lengthy maceration and two years of aging in oak foudres, of which 50% are new. The blend is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre.
2018 was a difficult vintage in the Southern Rhône, with a wet, windless spring leading to rampant mildew in the lower-lying vineyards. The rest of the growing season was hot and dry, however, with little rain, and the seriously-reduced crop (50% below normal) ripened early. Harvest began in late-August and finished in mid-September. The higher altitude of the Gigondas vineyards meant that the appellation was spared some of the disease-pressure of other areas, and the Gigondas produced some of the best wines of the entire Southern Rhône vintage.
Guigal’s 2018 Gigondas is deep,
ich, and heady, with aromas of ipe plums, cherries, and garrigue.
On the palate the wine is all lack fruits, spices and chocolate, and its exceptional concentration is balanced by lively, ripe acidity.
Pretty purple, with an intense nose dominated by stone fruits, licorice and savory garrigue notes. On the palate the wine is generous and elegant, offering cranberry and cherry notes that are accented by hints of clove and allspice. Overall a direct expression, lovely structure, and good tannins, present but supple. This is a wine we keep coming back to again and again!
Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
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.
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Jeb Dunnuck (90-92) - “The 2018 Gigondas offers a more pretty, elegant style as well as medium-bodied richness, polished tannins, lots of spring flowers, and more red and strawberry-like fruits. It’s an elegant, balanced Gigondas that will have 15 years or more of longevity.” - J.D.
Wine Advocate (91-93) - “I was told the sample of the 2018 Gigondas represented about 80% of the final blend, so a lot could still change from here to bottling. That said, what I tasted showed intricate notes of garrigue, raspberries and pomegranate, much like previous vintages. Full-bodied and plush, with a long, silky finish, it should be another winner.” - J.C.
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. 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 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.