Guigal’s legendary single vineyard Côte-Rôties from the under-the-radar 2012 vintage are now available. And their incredible run of scores continues, making them an unmissable opportunity…
What are the La Las?
“La Las” is the affectionate name given to Guigal’s three single vineyard wines from Côte-Rôtie in the Northern Rhône: La Turque, La Mouline and La Landonne. These Syrahs are almost singlehandedly responsible for Côte-Rôtie’s incredible reputation. But why have they amassed such a loyal following?
Why are the La Las so special?
These wines come from a positively miniscule yield of grapes, which have an intensity and concentration that allows them to withstand ageing in Guigal’s own expertly coopered barrels for an extended period of around three and a half years, and still emerge rich and fresh decades later.
On visiting Guigal, Robert Parker said: “I have never seen a producer so fanatical about quality as Marcel Guigal.” He then proceeded to award Marcel’s wines more perfect 100 point scores than any other producer (browse Guigal's 100 points scorers here). These three wines have received this accolade 27 times to date, with this tally set to rise...
But what makes Guigal's La Las so appealing to serious collectors and Rhône aficionados is their consistent quality. Over the past twenty years they have have received an average score of 96 points from Wine Advocate and, during this time, only six of the total 60 releases have ever slipped beneath the 90 point benchmark, and only ever by one or two points at most. This makes the La Las a collectors dream, as they have demonstrated far more stability from vintage to vintage than Bordeaux and Burgundy.
But it is not just their collectability that makes them desirable; their taste seals their appeal and legendary status. Jancis Robinson describes the purpose of these phenomenal wines to be: “to knock the taster's socks off.” And from the 2012 vintage it looks like the La Las will do just that...
2012 is considered very much an overlooked or under-the-radar vintage, i.e. it may not be the region's greatest vintage of the last decade, but it is one in which the top producers have truly excelled. The knock-on effect is that prices are likely to be considerably lower than the incredible 2009 and 2010 vintages, but the quality from producers like Guigal will be comparable. Robert Parker gave the 2012 vintage in Northern Rhône an outstanding 91 points and Jancis Robinson said that 2012: “Looks good for the Rhône, against the trend of the year in Europe at large.” Jeb Dunnock, who says that Guigal “consistently fashion some of the greatest wines in the world”, went further by announcing that 2012 “…is another terrific vintage at this estate.”
The 2012 La Las have had glowing reviews from both sides of the pond; read the reports from Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnock (December 2015) and Jancis Robinson (November 2013) below…
La Landonne 2012
La Landonne is pure Syrah grown on vertiginous almost 45 degree slopes.
Jeb Dunnock in Wine Advocate:
“Another massive, thick and unctuously textured beauty is the 2012 Cote Rotie La Landonne. Always the most structured and tannic of the three single vineyard releases, in this case, the wine’s wealth of fruit and texture almost completely hide its tannic grip and underlying structure. Offering sensational notes of cassis, caramelised meats, spice box and crushed rocks, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, masses of perfectly ripe tannin and a surprisingly sexy, hard to resist profile. Nevertheless, give it 7-8 years in the cellar and enjoy this beauty through 2047.”
“Spice, treacle, tannins, stems, wait, wait, wait! Very firm and muscular. Quite cool and very pumped full of mass and energy.”
View Guigal's 2012 La Landonne Côte-Rôtie here or the listings from all vintages by clicking here.
La Mouline 2012
The first of the La Las to be produced in 1966 and the oldest vines of the three, La Mouline hails from an amphitheatre shaped parcel on the Côte Blonde and is typically a blend of 89% Syrah and 11% Viognier, making it the most floral and unctuous.
Jeb Dunnock in Wine Advocate:
“Similar in quality to the 2011, the 2012 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline has terrific floral notes intermixed with layers of sweet cassis, olive tapenade, vanilla bean, pepper and roasted meats. Full-bodied, vibrant and with incredible purity, it has brilliant concentration, ultra-fine tannin and perfectly integrated acidity. It should be approachable with short-term cellaring and have two decades of longevity.”
“Broad, rich and spicy on the nose. Very substantial weight. Good freshness.”
View Guigal's 2012 La Mouline Côte-Rôtie here or the listings from all vintages by clicking here.
La Turque 2012
Situated on the Côte Brune La Turque faces south giving it the maximum exposure to the hot sun. Typically a blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier it offers a style midway between La Landonne and La Mouline.
Jeb Dunnock in Wine Advocate:
“Taking longer to develop in the glass than the exuberant and sexy La Mouline, the 2012 Côte-Rotie La Turque (93% Syrah and 7% Viognier that will see four years in new oak) offers Bordeaux-like notes of lead pencil and graphite to go with olive, smoked herbs, pepper and ripe dark fruits. Possessing a touch less raw material than both the 2009 and 2010, it nevertheless has full-bodied richness, serious mid-palate depth, lots of sweet tannin and a fabulous finish. It will need 4-6 years of cellaring and drink well over the following two to three decades.”
“Peppery nose with great richness underneath. Angular and forceful. Like a train driving itself over the palate. Lots going on here! Punch and power.”
View Guigal's 2012 La Turque Côte-Rôtie here or the listings from all vintages by clicking here.
At time of writing, there were fewer than 30 cases of each of the 2012 La Las available.