Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 2017
Marcel Guigal is the single person most responsible for bringing this historically great wine region to prominence. The Northern Rhône Valley is the cradle of wine civilization in France, with vineyards planted today on the same spot where they were planted 2,500 years ago by Romans, and it offers a completely unique profile of wines that are so expressive and bring so much pleasure, yet satisfy the most intellectually thirsty drinker. To put it simply, Marcel Guigal transformed Côte-Rôtie, the world’s perception and love for the wines, and now with his son he has not stopped leading his obsessive attention to detail and quality.
Côte-Rôtie is situated in the northernmost region of the Rhone valley. The Syrah vine is planted on steep terraced hillsides which catch and focus the sun’s heat, giving the region its reputation and name: “Roasted Slope.” A small percentage of the white Viognier grape is coplanted with the Syrah, and the two are harvested and fermented together, giving the wine more elegance and lightness. The Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal refers to the fact that the grapes come from the two areas of Côte-Rôtie, the Côte Brune and Côte Blonde. The historical legend is that long ago a lord deeded the Côte Brune to his dark-haired daughter and the Côte Blonde to his blond daughter. The soils of the Côte Brune are indeed darker, containing more iron and some clay while the paler soils of the Côte Blonde have more sand and limestone.
This blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier was hand-harvested and sorted before a 3-week temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel. The wine ages for 36 months in oak barrel, of which 50% is new oak. All the barrels used by Guigal are produced on site by their cooper, a rarity in the wine world.
Following the classic 2016 vintage, 2017 in the Northern Rhône was a year of contrasts and challenges. Following a very dry winter, spring was wet with hail and frost in some areas, reducing the crop considerably. Summer was characterized by periods of extreme drought, which continued through the fall, interrupted by some needed rain in early September. The crop in Côte Rôtie was about 20% smaller than usual. However, the fruit was clean and extremely concentrated, with rich but round tannins, producing dense wines of balance, length and long aging potential. A great result!
Dark ruby red in color. The nose presents spices, red berries and delicate oak aromas. The wine opens with round, soft tannin that are followed by rasberry, blackberry and vanilla. Overall, the wine is balanced between scarcely perceptible acidity and tannins which add ageing potential and softened by long ageing in oak.
Suggested Retail Price
Jeb Dunnuck (93+) -
"Rocking level of kirsch and black raspberry fruits that are interwoven with nuances of flowers, incense, herbs de Provence and spice. This ripe, sexy, medium to full bodied barrel sample shows the sunny style of the vintage yet has seamless tannins and stays weightless on the palate."
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 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 long and satisfying. Because of its quality and body, it's a rosé that you can bring to the table, and do so all year long. It is a rosé that offers both refreshment and pleasure.
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’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.
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.