2009 Cotes du Rhone Etienne Guigal

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Average critic rating : 89.0 points



There are 3.5 million bottles of the 2009 Cotes du Rhone red, which represents an amazing value. A blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, it comes primarily from the Plan de Dieu (Plain of God), which is situated northeast of Chateauneuf du Pape. This tank-aged, deep ruby/purple-colored, concentrated, fleshy, medium to full-bodied, supple offering reveals plenty of pepper, kirsch and black currant fruit intermixed with a notion of flowers. It is meant to be consumed during its first 2-3 years of life although I have tasted 10-year-old bottles that are still holding together. ||The next issue will cover Guigal’s brilliant northern Rhone wines, but the seriousness and impeccable attention to detail is noticeable with these southern Rhone selections for which he buys finished wines and blends them together. As I have written many times, the Guigals should offer a class in the brilliance of a wine’s elevage (meaning its upbringing in the cellars). I have visited this firm for over three decades, and it is always remarkable how the quality of the wines improves consistently in the different vessels in which it is aged right through and after bottling. The Guigals have long recognized that most people will never have a chance to taste the monumental, world-class Cote Roties, Hermitages and Condrieus they produce, but most consumers should be able to find their humble, inexpensive Cotes du Rhones. They have always made a delicious red Cotes du Rhone, but the quality of their white Cotes du Rhones has soared over recent vintages. Sooner or later (and I would bet it will be sooner) the Guigals will purchase a large estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. Both Philippe and Marcel agree there are three truly magnificent appellations in the entire Rhone Valley – Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Chateauneuf du Pape. The latter is the only one where they do not own their own vineyards and they are aggressively seeking an estate to purchase. Normally a blend of 85% Grenache and the rest equal parts Syrah, Mourvedre and miscellaneous grapes, their Chateauneuf du Pape is aged completely in foudre for a number of years before being bottled. The two recent vintages look to be sensational and should come close to matching their finest Chateauneuf du Pape in over three decades, the 2007. Wine Advocate.October, 2011

Etienne Guigal, one of the most famous producers in the world, is regarded by Robert Parker as “the axis upon which the northern Rhône rests, a producer whose wines transcend all levels of the hierarchy. He is passionate about making single vineyard expressions using a non-interventionalist, distinctive approach. Best known for his ‘La Las’ (La Landonne, La Mouline and La Turque), these “other-wordly” wines are often spoken about in the same breath as the greatest Grand Crus of Bordeaux and Burgundy. However, due to Parker’s main focus being on the 'La Las' some other sensational wines from this magnificent producer slip under the radar. In particular, Guigal’s Lieu-Dit St Joseph offers terrific value. This tiny single vineyard, planted with old vines which range from 20 to 75 years of age, produces a very special wine.

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