Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis 2015
What a story. Etienne Guigal, working in the cellars of a local winery, is swimming in the Rhone river off the docks near the Château d’Ampuis. He meets a lovely girl, who works as a maid at the Château d’Ampuis, a historic property whose oldest sections date to the 11th century, where Kings of France have visited and slept, and symbol of the town of Ampuis and the world-renowned Côte-Rôtie vineyard area for ten centuries. In 1995, 7 years after Etienne passed away, his son Marcel Guigal purchased the Château, and spent 11 years restoring it, with over 100 people working on the project, all overseen by France’s Chief Architect of Historic Monuments.
Early on, when the Guigal family learned that there was at one time a wine produced with the Château d’Ampuis name, and they were able to trace the vineyards that were used in this original wine, they decided to produce an exceptional wine that would showcase the best that Côte-Rôtie has to offer.
Today Château d’Ampuis is made from 7 exceptional vineyards from both sides of Côte-Rôtie, the Côte Blonde and the Côte Brune, and vines averaging 50 years of age. These are exceptional vineyards, and in fact every vineyard is adjoining one of the three Guigal single vineyard crus, La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque.
The vineyards are in the Côte Blonde as follows: Le Clos, La Garde, and La Grande Plantée; and in the Côte Brune: La Pommière, Le Pavillon Rouge, Le Moulin and La Viria.
Ampuis is composed of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier, and aged in the same manner as the Guigal single-vineyard crus, with a 4 week maceration and alcoholic fermentation followed by 38 months in new barrels that are all made at the estate.
When Marcel Guigal called 2015 “the vintage of a lifetime and on par with 1929, 1947 and 1961,″ the anticipation while Guigal carried out their customary extended aging was almost too much to bear. From a vintage nearly as perfect as you could get, from vine dormancy right through harvest, the wines are spellbinding, with an utterly perfect balance of charm, complexity, and power.
Replenishing rain in the winter restored the water tables to supply the plants with nutrients, and then abundant sunshine and warmth helped the vines mature the berries to perfection as the generous diurnal shift maintained the acidity and freshness of the fruit. To buy, drink, age and, above all, enjoy!
The hallmark of Château d’Ampuis is an unbelievably seductive perfume full of sweet black fruits and spices, and an elegance despite the intense concentration of fruit (prunes, blackberry) and tannin. Château d’Ampuis defines what a great Côte-Rôtie should be with its beautiful balance, muscular complexity and length.
For nearly 4 decades Guigal has used only environmentally sustainable methods of pest, disease and weed control. They work to conserve biological diversity, water resources, soils and ecosystems on their land. Packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable. Lastly, they are committed to achieving a zero waste target.
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James Suckling - "Impressively deep aromas of graphite, tar, dark plums, blackberries, chocolate, pepper and all manner of baking spices. The palate has a super rich and attractive feel with smooth tannins, saturated in blackberry and chocolate flavors. This has such dramatic depth and youthful power still"
Wine Spectator - "A gorgeous core of steeped raspberry, boysenberry and fig fruit gives this a showy side. A lush structure flows underneath, while long echoes of warm ganache, black tea and espresso linger. The fruit keeps this in the suave and alluring camp overall, though there's plenty of grip for cellaring."
Jeb Dunnuck - "Scheduled to be bottled just after this visit, the 2015 Côte Rôtie Château D'Ampuis reveals a deep ruby/purple color as well as an extraordinary bouquet of smoked black fruits, caramelized blackcurrants, leady herbs, ground pepper, and earth. It's deep, rich, massively concentrated, and a powerhouse of a wine that’s going to need bottle age, but wow, what a wine!"
Vinous Media - "Brilliant violet. Powerful, smoke-tinged dark berry preserve, candied violet, olive and fruitcake aromas show excellent clarity and pick up a spicy element with air. Palate-staining blackberry, cherry liqueur, bitter chocolate and floral pastille flavors are sharpened by a suggestion of cracked pepper. Surprisingly light on its feet given the depth of flavor and power. Finishes extremely long and floral, with steadily building tannins and a sneaky touch of exotic spices."
Wine Advocate - “The 2015 Cote Rotie Chateau d'Ampuis finally approaches the lofty goals set for it by the Guigal family. It’s a bit toasty from the barrel but full-bodied, ripe and concentrated. Loaded with tannins and black raspberry fruit, it’s silky at the same time, leaving behind lingering traces of mocha and roasted meat on the long finish.”
More on E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis 2015
March 1, 2019 - The Chicago Sun Times featured Guigal in a dedicated story within the print edition of the newspaper. Wine writer Peter Hoyne gave readers an overview of the brand heritage, beginning with Etienne…
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