Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis 2016
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.
2016 began with a cool and rainy spring, with some threat form hail and mildew early on, and very late flowering. However, fine weather through August and September provide perfect conditions for a classic vintage, and the Côte Rôtie vineyards were harvested between late September and mid-October. The resulting wines are excellent, with great purity, concentration and balance. Philippe Guigal calls 2016 a ‘classic’ vintage for this cuvée, with expected aging potential of 25 years or more.
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. The 2016 is a wine from a tannic and muscular vintage due to the hot climate. Solid tannins, yet well rounded by long oak ageing.
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.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Spectator - "Revealing a ruby/purple hue as well as a stunning nose of black raspberry and cassis interwoven with notes of bacon fat, spring flowers, violets, and smoked game, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless texture, and gorgeous overall balance. The tannins are polished, and it has wonderful sweetness of fruit as well as considerable elegance. A classic 2016 that does everything right, it cedes very little, if anything, to the more expensive single vineyard releases. Readers that love classic Côte Rôtie should buy this by the case."
Vinous Media - "Extremely dark ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented cherry and dark fruit preserve, exotic spice, licorice and incense aromas show sharp delineation and pick up hints of candied flowers and olive with aeration. Sweet, seamless and broad on the palate, offering intense boysenberry, cherry liqueur, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. Repeats the blue fruit note on an impressively persistent, spice-tinged finish that features sneaky tannins and an appealingly sweet cola flourish."
More on E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis 2016
October 28, 2020 - James Molesworth of Wine Spectator feature's legendary Rhône Valley producer E. Guigal in this weeks producer spotlight. Molesworth says that, despite the recent purchases of Domaine Les Clefs d’Or and…
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