Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2015
Cotes du Rhone
The Guigal family owns some of the most hallowed vineyards in the Rhône Valley and the world and makes some of the most sought-after wines in the world. Yet you are undoubtedly more likely to spend time with them speaking about their Côtes du Rhône Rouge. Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position the Guigals occupy in the Rhône Valley, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
The Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge offers tremendous warmth, spice and pleasure, but in a decidedly individual fashion. It is, unlike virtually every other Côtes du Rhône, based on Syrah, a Northern Rhône approach that lends greater aromatic intensity and structure, though is far more difficult and costly to produce in the Southern Rhône. The aging also goes far other wine in the appellation in its category, a minimum of two years in a combination of stainless steel and foudres, with a deliberate blending over the course of that time that results in a wine of remarkable harmony and complexity. It is an extraordinary value and a benchmark for the region from one of the world’s most lauded producers.
The soils are varied among the 80 growers that Guigal consistently works with, consisting mainly sedimentary, limestone and granite soils, with many pebbles and alluvial deposits. The average yield is around 2.1 tons per acre, and the average age of the vines is 35 years. The final composition of the 2015 is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre.
Guigal ages their Côtes du Rhône Rouge for a full 18 months to 2 years before release, partly in foudre and partly in stainless steel. This expensive process results in a wine of unusual complexity, with a substantial and generous palate. After a long maceration and fermentation, aging takes place in stainless steel and foudres for at least 18 months.
2015 is the best overall year in the Southern Rhône Valley since 2010, with good quantities of healthy fruit, ample ripeness – the challenge was managing the long, hot season- and many pockets where the wines go beyond good to very good and outstanding. The generous richness is tempered by Guigal’s long aging and development of the savory, spicy characteristics of the fruit they select. In our opinion, this 2015 Côtes du Rhône will go down as one of the greatest Guigal has produced, along with the 1998 and 2005 (both of which are, remarkably, still going strong).
Deep and dark red. On the nose intensely aromatic, with black fruits and spices. The palate is full, round and yet also racy. Round and smooth tannins present through the full bodied, ample wine. Overall a complete wine, with a long finish, with elegance and finesse accompanying the abundance of fruit and well-balanced tannins.
What can we say, we have a passion for the city of Lyon. 30 minutes from the Guigal cellars in Ampuis, Lyon can call itself the gastronomic heart of France. The birthplace of French haute cuisine, but a cuisine in general always focused around incredible ingredients properly handled more than a sense of formal stuffiness. And this love of food imbues the every day to an incredible extent. Spectacular charcuterie, patés, game, fruits and vegetables; it’s a cornucopia for wine and food lovers. The culture is warm and friendly, the cuisine reflects that sentiment, and a Côtes du Rhône Rouge from Guigal – an everyday experience turned exceptional. You can find here a few fun charcuterie tips from a friend of Guigal.
Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
Cotes du Rhone
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 Advocate - “As usual, the 2015 Cotes du Rhone features a majority of Syrah, largely sourced from the western side of the Rhône. Spicy, peppery, hickory aromas lead off, adding berries up front and then moving into darker fruit and more savory notes of black olive by the finish. This medium to full-bodied wine finishes long and silky, avoiding any of the vintage’s hard tannins, while still boasting the concentration to drink well through at least 2023.”
Karen Macneil - The masterful Karen Macneil features the 2015 Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge as a "wine to know," elaborating that when she first tasted the wine she had a “sudden sensation that a sexy guy from Texas just walked into the room” and “could still smell the campfire.” Karen offers context, adding that Guigal is “one of the Rhone’s most traditional and respected producers," and that “if you love the meaty, gamey, spicy flavors of Rhone reds, this steal is for you."
Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media - "Brilliant ruby. Vibrant cherry and cassis aromas are complicated by licorice, violet and floral nuances. Sappy, gently sweet dark fruit flavors show very good energy, and a peppery nuance adds lift and spicy bite. Finishes smoky and long, with supple tannins sneaking in late to add shape."
Other Wines by this Producer
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône's production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley.
The Guigal family has made serious rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also long and satisfying. Because of its quality and body, it's a rosé that you can bring to the table, and do so all year long. It is a rosé that offers both refreshment and pleasure.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. The reds, which are the majority of production, have wonderful warm flavors of red and black fruit, and typical Syrah pepper, spice and savory notes.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expresiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Guigal’s Gigondas is an incredible introduction to serious Southern Rhône reds, and a show-stopper at the price. In the hands of Guigal, the rich ripe fruit and savory character of the wine bursts with sheer pleasure, yet the wine displays terrific refinement, complexity, length and ability to age.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, producing small quantities of extraordinarily intense and ageworthy red wine and tiny amounts of dry white. The entire vineyard consists of 309 acres planted on a single granite hillside on the banks of the Rhône. The Hermitage Rouge is the example of a racy wine, that manages to remain seductive.
Guigal is synonymous with the Côte-Rôtie area, for bringing this great wine region to prominence, and for owning three times as much land as next largest land-owner, vinifiying 1/3 of the total appellation, and unquestionably holding the finest sites in this tiny, special area. The incredible Syrah from this area, co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, has tremendously balanced concentration, depth and finesse.
Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expressiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Even more of a discovery is Hermitage Blanc, one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley and in the small 309 acre Hermitage AOC.