Soon after I was first introduced to E. Guigal’s wines in the early 1990s, they became my standard by which to judge, or at least compare, other Rhone reds.
That hasn’t changed and won’t any time soon. Especially given the consistency, quality and value the Rhone master continues to produce. Starting with its low-end, the Cote du Rhone Rouge, the first of three noted here, all tasted at the TopVino International Wine Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in October 2016.
Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2011
This wine is why Guigal is by far my favorite Rhone producer. Even in their least expensive red cuvee offering, the quality remains consistently and remarkably high.
The blend is 50% Syrah, 45% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre; it’s deep red ruby in color, there’s ample cherry and raspberry on the palate to meld well with its signature cracked pepper spice. Stored adequately, this will probably improve for the next three to four years, providing a no-nonsense and inexpensive way to start training yourself in the art –and most importantly, the patience– of cellaring. 3.5 million bottles produced so it can be found just about anywhere. Retail €10 (11 USD). If you’re aware of another €10 bottle that can compete with this, please let me know.
Guigal Saint Joseph 2012
100% syrah; intense red in color with lots of dense fruit on the nose and palate; I felt like diving in. I also really liked the delicate understated oak but it still needs a bit of time. If you find it, grab a bottle and set it aside for five or six years. And don’t forget to come back and thank me. Retail €20
Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
Again, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape standard.
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. By many accounts, 2010 was generally regarded as a very good vintage for Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which is as good an argument as you need for Guigal’s offering. 70 % old Grenache, 15 % Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and a 5% smattering of others; it’s an intense inky red, on the fuller side of medium-bodied. Dark cherry berry and toasty oak on the palate and nose, all combine for a bottle that’s pleasantly complex and very much alive.
As you probably guessed, I’m not a big fan of consuming big reds in their playful, youthful years. We’re forced to do that much too often. That’s especially true with this one, which I’m sure will be excellent for the next decade. If you can’t wait that long, wait at least a couple. Please. Pretty please. Retail €39
- All three tasted 17 Oct 2016 at the TopVino International Wine Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Price listed is local (Ljubljana) on day of tasting.
Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,026th straight? Just a snapshot of a restaurant menu in Sapa, Vietnam, snapped six years ago this week. No, I didn’t try any. I now regret that decision.