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.
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