Tag Archives: Guigal

All things considered (Rhone Valley, France – Day Three)

The Rhone Valley is arguably one of the most diverse regions in France, if not Europe. Covering over 200 km from north to south it is one of the longest regions, and with the difference in climate and soil conditions provides many opportunities for viticulture. The region is split from Valence, about 100km north of Avignon and 100 km south of Lyon. North of Valence has a much more continental climate, cooler and well protected from winds and rain. South of Valence is more Mediterranean in climate, warmer with more wind influence. This is probably the most important difference between the north and south. Throughout the entire region, there are a multitude of producers of different size and style. Growers who may not make or bottle their own wine may be part of a cooperative that vinifies the fruit, and either sells the wine in bulk or bottle. There are more artisan producers who only produce wine from their own estates, whether in a single appellation or several. Then there are those in between, who produce wine from their own estates, and also purchase fruit and/or wine from growers to produce/bottle under their own label. It is very common for producers in the Northern Rhone Valley to operate in this model, as in the north there are not enough vineyards and they are also very expensive to purchase and manage, and so they compensate by bottling wine from the south were fruit is less expensive and in much larger supply. In several cases a Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge wine may account for 50% of the bottles sold each year. The first appointment for my third day epitomises this model (Guigal), the second has only just started to move into this realm (Chateau Font de Michelle), and the third only produces wine from their own estates across three appelations/vineyards (Domaine de la Renjarde/Le Prieure de Montezargues).

Only days away from capfall and flowers developing

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Guigal – 23/05/2012

Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2010 (95% marsanne, 5% roussanne)

Nice blossom sweet white berry nose with some delicate spice. Very crisp and pure on the palate, expressing some minerality with focused bright and fresh fruit.

Condrieu 2010 (100% viognier)

Honeyed apricot blossom, oily and yet bright and floral. Very tight structure with volume and viscosity, some sweet fruit texture and richness and subtle oak complexity.

Hermitage Blanc 2007 (95% marsanne, 5% roussanne)

Much more expression of oak and malolactic characters on the nose but well integrated. Quite fat and broad, lacking a little focus, but relatively clean and pure with subtle oak notes.

Ex Voto Hermitage Blanc 2009 (100% new oak)

Newer oak hiding the richness of the malo, very oily honeyed peach notes with much more complexity aromatically. Ideal concentration of fruit for the winemaking style, good length and intensity, well balanced richness and breadth, ageing potential.

Saint Joseph 2009 (100% syrah)

Black pepper green spice, earthy meaty complexity on the nose. Pure clean and mineralic, some very late chocolate notes possibly from the oak, fruit not very expressive.

Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde 2007

Meaty spice but no pepper, finesse intensity and vibrancy on the nose. Silky tannins, focus and drive, mature stalk notes adding some brown spice, very deep and serious.

Hermitage 2005 (100% syrah)

Very prominent black liquorice and violet aromas, blackberry and raspberry cordial fruit. Bold and juicy tannins and fruit on the palate, generous depth and some mature toasty creamy texture.

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2007 (eight parcels)

Showing very smoky stalk notes, tight small dark berries, white pepper elegance. Soft velverty yet bright tannins, very young at the moment but still very approachable.

La Turque Cote Rotie 2008 (Single vineyard, 98% syrah, 2% viognier)

Very floral, unbelievably concentrated, violets spice and white pepper. Generous fruit, focused tannins, opulence and concentrated rich fruit, lively yet brooding but still very drinkable now.

Ex Voto Hermitage 2006 (100% syrah)

Noticable but subtle vegemite aromas, meaty spice elements. Generous and soft, juicy texture with good fruit, but very unfocused and broad, looking like its peaking, not as strong as the cote rotie wines.

Tasting at Guigal

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