Search Results for:

Producer: E. Guigal, Article: The Northern Rhône: 2017 and 2018

62 Wines Found (25 shown)
VintageWineColorRatingPriceReviews
2018 Guigal Condrieu

Bottled in June, the 2018 Condrieu is a rich yet elegant Condrieu with classy notes of ripe white peach, tangerine, and grapefruit pith as well as medium-bodied richness. It has a touch of salinity on the palate and is beautifully balanced. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Bottled in June, the 2018 Condrieu is a rich yet elegant Condrieu with classy notes of ripe white peach, tangerine, and grapefruit pith as well as medium-bodied richness. It has a touch of salinity on the palate and is beautifully balanced. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Condrieu La Doriane

Bottled at the same time, the 2018 Condrieu La Doriane is a bigger, more luxurious version of the appellation release. Beautiful quince, acacia flowers, apricot, and spice notes emerge from the glass and it builds beautifully on the palate, with medium to full body, integrated acidity, and flawless overall balance. It shows the soft, sexy side to the vintage and is best enjoyed over the coming 4-6 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Bottled at the same time, the 2018 Condrieu La Doriane is a bigger, more luxurious version of the appellation release. Beautiful quince, acacia flowers, apricot, and spice notes emerge from the glass and it builds beautifully on the palate, with medium to full body, integrated acidity, and flawless overall balance. It shows the soft, sexy side to the vintage and is best enjoyed over the coming 4-6 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cotes Du Rhone Blanc

The quality of this cuvée has soared over the past decade, and the 2018 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is another terrific vintage. Tasting like a mini Condrieu with its floral, orange blossom, and honeysuckle aromas and flavors, it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and lively on the palate, with an attractive mix of richness and freshness. Drink it over the coming year or two.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The quality of this cuvée has soared over the past decade, and the 2018 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is another terrific vintage. Tasting like a mini Condrieu with its floral, orange blossom, and honeysuckle aromas and flavors, it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and lively on the palate, with an attractive mix of richness and freshness. Drink it over the coming year or two.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc

An outstanding wine, the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc offers lots of peach, melon, and citrus notes, a hint of flowers, medium body, and a balanced, clean, classy texture. Drink it over the coming 3-5 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

An outstanding wine, the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc offers lots of peach, melon, and citrus notes, a hint of flowers, medium body, and a balanced, clean, classy texture. Drink it over the coming 3-5 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Chateauneuf Du Pape Blanc

More rounded, soft, and sexy, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc has plenty of peach fruit as well as notes of spice and white flowers, with a touch of saltiness on the palate. Medium-bodied and ready to go, enjoy it over the coming 4-5 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

More rounded, soft, and sexy, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc has plenty of peach fruit as well as notes of spice and white flowers, with a touch of saltiness on the palate. Medium-bodied and ready to go, enjoy it over the coming 4-5 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Saint Joseph Blanc

The 2018 Saint Joseph Blanc has a big kiss of minerality as well as medium to full-bodied, ripe notes of quince, honeysuckle, and white flowers. It’s beautifully textured, balanced, and just a smoking good white from the Northern Rhône.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Saint Joseph Blanc has a big kiss of minerality as well as medium to full-bodied, ripe notes of quince, honeysuckle, and white flowers. It’s beautifully textured, balanced, and just a smoking good white from the Northern Rhône.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph Blanc

Even better, the 2018 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph Blanc is all Marsanne and comes from one of the top terroirs in the appellation. Rocking notes of white currants, toasted spice, brioche, toasted nuts, and a hint of white flowers flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated white that does everything right. Drink it any time over the coming decade.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Even better, the 2018 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph Blanc is all Marsanne and comes from one of the top terroirs in the appellation. Rocking notes of white currants, toasted spice, brioche, toasted nuts, and a hint of white flowers flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated white that does everything right. Drink it any time over the coming decade.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Hermitage Blanc

Not yet bottled, the 2018 Hermitage Blanc offers the more sexy, voluptuous, and supple style of the vintage while still having classic Hermitage depth and minerality. Medium to full-bodied notes of quince, honeyed peach, spice, and floral notes all dominate the bouquet, and it’s certainly going to be an outstanding wine.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Not yet bottled, the 2018 Hermitage Blanc offers the more sexy, voluptuous, and supple style of the vintage while still having classic Hermitage depth and minerality. Medium to full-bodied notes of quince, honeyed peach, spice, and floral notes all dominate the bouquet, and it’s certainly going to be an outstanding wine.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Hermitage Ex Voto Blanc

Not yet bottled, the 2018 Hermitage Ex Voto Blanc is more closed and backward, yet has beautiful fruit and toasty, honey, licorice, and spice aromas, full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and brilliant purity of fruit. With the purity and depth of the vintage, it’s going to put on weight over the course of its élevage and will be another beautiful wine from this great family.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Not yet bottled, the 2018 Hermitage Ex Voto Blanc is more closed and backward, yet has beautiful fruit and toasty, honey, licorice, and spice aromas, full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and brilliant purity of fruit. With the purity and depth of the vintage, it’s going to put on weight over the course of its élevage and will be another beautiful wine from this great family.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cotes Du Rhone Rose

The 2018 Côtes du Rhône Rosé plays in the more medium-bodied, fresh, lively end of the spectrum (which is a slight change from the typical style) and has lots of strawberry and spice aromas, good acidity, and a clean, crisp finish.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Côtes du Rhône Rosé plays in the more medium-bodied, fresh, lively end of the spectrum (which is a slight change from the typical style) and has lots of strawberry and spice aromas, good acidity, and a clean, crisp finish.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Tavel

A bigger, richer effort that still shows considerable freshness and purity, the 2018 Tavel offers more framboise and strawberry fruits as well as medium-bodied richness, outstanding balance, and good acidity. It’s a textbook, classic Tavel that’s going to shine on the dinner table.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

A bigger, richer effort that still shows considerable freshness and purity, the 2018 Tavel offers more framboise and strawberry fruits as well as medium-bodied richness, outstanding balance, and good acidity. It’s a textbook, classic Tavel that’s going to shine on the dinner table.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cotes Du Rhone

The 2018 Côtes du Rhône, which is a slightly more Syrah-dominated blend, offers more peppery, earthy notes as well as plenty of dark blue fruits, medium body, notable elegance, and solid balance. It’s a charming, attractive barrel sample that should drink nicely on release.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Côtes du Rhône, which is a slightly more Syrah-dominated blend, offers more peppery, earthy notes as well as plenty of dark blue fruits, medium body, notable elegance, and solid balance. It’s a charming, attractive barrel sample that should drink nicely on release.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Crozes-Hermitage

I loved the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage, which is similar to the 2017 yet offers a touch more purity of fruit. Blackberries, black raspberries, smoked game, and earth all emerge from this medium to full-bodied effort that’s going to shine right out of the gate.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

I loved the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage, which is similar to the 2017 yet offers a touch more purity of fruit. Blackberries, black raspberries, smoked game, and earth all emerge from this medium to full-bodied effort that’s going to shine right out of the gate.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Saint Joseph

I was blown away by the 2018 Saint Joseph, and let’s hope it continues showing this well over the course of its élevage. Rocking levels of crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed violets, and earth all give way to a medium to full-bodied, ripe, sexy effort that ranks with the finest vintages of this release to date.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

I was blown away by the 2018 Saint Joseph, and let’s hope it continues showing this well over the course of its élevage. Rocking levels of crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed violets, and earth all give way to a medium to full-bodied, ripe, sexy effort that ranks with the finest vintages of this release to date.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph

The 2018 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph is tight and closed yet has beautiful, full-bodied richness and depth as well as lots of baby fat, building tannins, and a great finish. It’s another terrific wine from this team.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph is tight and closed yet has beautiful, full-bodied richness and depth as well as lots of baby fat, building tannins, and a great finish. It’s another terrific wine from this team.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Saint Joseph Vignes De L'Hospice

Cut from the same cloth yet more rounded, supple, and sexy, the 2018 Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices is another Hermitage look-alike with its burning embers, graphite, crushed flowers, and meaty dark fruits. I love its texture, it’s full-bodied and concentrated, and it will be drinkable at an earlier age than the 2017.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Cut from the same cloth yet more rounded, supple, and sexy, the 2018 Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices is another Hermitage look-alike with its burning embers, graphite, crushed flowers, and meaty dark fruits. I love its texture, it’s full-bodied and concentrated, and it will be drinkable at an earlier age than the 2017.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cote Rotie Brune Et Blonde

I suspect the 2018 Côte Rôtie Brune Et Blonde will be up there with the top vintages of this cuvée, and it shows how strong 2018 was for Côte Rôtie. Beautiful cassis, vanilla bean, spring flowers, and subtle oak nuances give way to a full-bodied beauty that has both power and finesse. I love the tannin quality here, and while it’s going to be accessible in its youth, it’s also going to age gracefully on its purity and balance.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

I suspect the 2018 Côte Rôtie Brune Et Blonde will be up there with the top vintages of this cuvée, and it shows how strong 2018 was for Côte Rôtie. Beautiful cassis, vanilla bean, spring flowers, and subtle oak nuances give way to a full-bodied beauty that has both power and finesse. I love the tannin quality here, and while it’s going to be accessible in its youth, it’s also going to age gracefully on its purity and balance.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cote Rotie Chateau D'Ampuis

Lastly, the 2018 Côte Rôtie Château D'Ampuis is going to flirt with perfection and is about as classic Côte Rôtie as they come. Lots of cassis, graphite, spring flowers, vanilla, and game notes all give way to a full-bodied Côte Rôtie that’s flawlessly balanced, has silky tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This will be another stunning vintage for this wine that readers can find for a fraction of the cost of the top La Las. It’s worth the money.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Lastly, the 2018 Côte Rôtie Château D'Ampuis is going to flirt with perfection and is about as classic Côte Rôtie as they come. Lots of cassis, graphite, spring flowers, vanilla, and game notes all give way to a full-bodied Côte Rôtie that’s flawlessly balanced, has silky tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This will be another stunning vintage for this wine that readers can find for a fraction of the cost of the top La Las. It’s worth the money.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline

The 2018 Côte Rôtie La Mouline (which includes 15% Viognier) tastes like a mix of the 2015 and 2018 and has full-bodied richness and depth as well as remarkable purity in its cassis and blackberry fruits as well as classic Côte Rôtie spice, game, and assorted meatiness. With ripe tannins and a fleshy, blockbuster style, it’s going to evolve gracefully for 25-30 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Côte Rôtie La Mouline (which includes 15% Viognier) tastes like a mix of the 2015 and 2018 and has full-bodied richness and depth as well as remarkable purity in its cassis and blackberry fruits as well as classic Côte Rôtie spice, game, and assorted meatiness. With ripe tannins and a fleshy, blockbuster style, it’s going to evolve gracefully for 25-30 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque

Tasting like the 2015, yet with perhaps slightly more elegance, the 2018 Côte Rôtie La Turque reveals a saturated purple color as well as blockbuster notes of crème de cassis, white flowers, candle wax, graphite, and spiced meats. It’s a huge, full-bodied, blockbuster styled effort as well as another magical wine in the making.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Tasting like the 2015, yet with perhaps slightly more elegance, the 2018 Côte Rôtie La Turque reveals a saturated purple color as well as blockbuster notes of crème de cassis, white flowers, candle wax, graphite, and spiced meats. It’s a huge, full-bodied, blockbuster styled effort as well as another magical wine in the making.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne

Lastly, the 2018 Côte Rôtie La Landonne is pure magic in the making and lends credence to the suggestion that Côte Rôtie is the shining star in 2018. The typical 100% Syrah aged in new French oak, it has a pure, vivid bouquet of blue fruits, wood smoke, charred meats, and graphite. While it’s unmistakably La Landonne with its meaty, masculine style, it has stunning purity of fruit. This massive, full-bodied, monster of a barrel sample is going to require patience.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Lastly, the 2018 Côte Rôtie La Landonne is pure magic in the making and lends credence to the suggestion that Côte Rôtie is the shining star in 2018. The typical 100% Syrah aged in new French oak, it has a pure, vivid bouquet of blue fruits, wood smoke, charred meats, and graphite. While it’s unmistakably La Landonne with its meaty, masculine style, it has stunning purity of fruit. This massive, full-bodied, monster of a barrel sample is going to require patience.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Hermitage

The 2018 Hermitage has similarities to the 2016 yet with a touch more mid-palate oomph. Notes of cassis, smoked game, vanilla, and a touch of minerality all emerge from the glass, and it’s a full-bodied, silky, sexy wine that shows the purity of the vintage. It could be a real superstar and drink well above its price point.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Hermitage has similarities to the 2016 yet with a touch more mid-palate oomph. Notes of cassis, smoked game, vanilla, and a touch of minerality all emerge from the glass, and it’s a full-bodied, silky, sexy wine that shows the purity of the vintage. It could be a real superstar and drink well above its price point.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Hermitage Ex Voto

The 2018 Hermitage Ex Voto is stunning, and comes closest in my mind to a mix of the 2015 and 2016. Showing more blue fruits, violets, chocolate, and a liquid rock-like minerality, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, massive amounts of fruit, and building tannins. While the 2017 has more upfront exuberance, I love the purity, depth, and sheer class of the 2018.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Hermitage Ex Voto is stunning, and comes closest in my mind to a mix of the 2015 and 2016. Showing more blue fruits, violets, chocolate, and a liquid rock-like minerality, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, massive amounts of fruit, and building tannins. While the 2017 has more upfront exuberance, I love the purity, depth, and sheer class of the 2018.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Gigondas

The 2018 Gigondas offers a more pretty, elegant style as well as medium-bodied richness, polished tannins, lots of spring flowers, and more red and strawberry-like fruits. It’s an elegant, balanced Gigondas that will have 15 years or more of longevity.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

The 2018 Gigondas offers a more pretty, elegant style as well as medium-bodied richness, polished tannins, lots of spring flowers, and more red and strawberry-like fruits. It’s an elegant, balanced Gigondas that will have 15 years or more of longevity.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

2018 Guigal Chateauneuf Du Pape

Lastly, the 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is another beauty in the making. Lots of strawberry and blackberry fruit, notes of garrigue, peppery herbs, and earth, medium to full-bodied richness, and silky tannins all make for a terrific 2018 that’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate yet evolve positively for 8-10 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.

  NA 1

Lastly, the 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is another beauty in the making. Lots of strawberry and blackberry fruit, notes of garrigue, peppery herbs, and earth, medium to full-bodied richness, and silky tannins all make for a terrific 2018 that’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate yet evolve positively for 8-10 years.

This reference point estate was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal and has been one of the world’s greatest wine estates for over seven decades now. Today, it’s Etienne’s son, Marcel Guigal, and his son Philippe, who continue to keep Domaine Guigal at the leading edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, one of my highlights tasting each year is with this team, which now also includes Jacques Desvernois, who was previously at Paul Jaboulet Aîné. As normal, due to the long élevage of most cuvées, we taste through four vintages of each of the main releases. The top Côte Rôties see (and have always seen) a full four years in new French oak, and even their larger production Southern Rhônes see extended time in oak. While a lot is said about the extended élevage in new oak, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines regularly who has any doubts about the genius here. In short, these single vineyard Côte Rôties and Hermitages are some of the greatest wines money can buy. Quickly looking at the releases here, there are two main Saint Josephs, the Vignes des Hospice and the Lieu-dit Saint Joseph. The Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. This is a cooler, mostly east-facing vineyard of pure granite soils (it shows similarities with the Les Bessards lieu-dit just across the river) and harvest here always lags other nearby sites by 5-7 days. I always find a Hermitage-like character in this wine and it ages beautifully. The Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard that the appellation takes its name. This is one of the top terroirs in the region and this cuvée is always a more broad, opulent wine that doesn’t have the tannic backbone of the Vignes des Hospice yet offers more upfront appeal. As to the Côte Rôtie, there are five releases. The Brune et Blonde can be thought of as the entry-level cuvée and comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate, yet there is some purchased fruit. It drinks well on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. A smaller production release, the Côte Rôtie Château d’Ampuis is named after the Château d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhône River, and was purchased by the Guigals in 1995) and is a blend of their top seven estate vineyards, including the La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin, and La Viria lieux-dits. It sees a full four years in new French oak and is handled exactly like the single vineyard releases. There are roughly 2,500 cases of this produced, and in top years, it’s quality can be just as high as the single vineyard releases, making it a terrific value. There are only three (now anyways) single vineyards that are affectionally labeled “La Las,” the La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne. First made in 1966, the La Mouline comes from a parcel in the Côte Blonde and is the warmest, earliest site of the single vineyards. It includes some of the oldest vines of the estate, sees upwards of 10% co-fermented Viognier, see only pump-overs during fermentation, and has always spent four years in new French oak. The La Mouline is always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases and is also the earliest maturing. Nevertheless, top vintages can easily keep for 30 years. The Côte Rotie La Turque was first made in 1985 and comes from a steep parcel in the Côte Brune. It sees slightly less Viognier than the La Mouline and is a co-fermented blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. It sees a more aggressive punch-down regime during fermentation and spends 48 months in new French oak. The La Turque always splits the difference between the La Mouline and La Landonne stylistically and shows slightly more minerality and structure than the La Mouline, yet not quite the austerity and structure found in the La Landonne. It normally needs 10-15 years of bottle age to show its true self. Lastly, the Côte Rotie La Landonne comes from a great lieu-dit in the Côte Brune side of the appellation. It is always 100% Syrah and is made using a cap immersion technique for fermentation. This cuvée was first made in 1978 and for each vintage has spent 48 months in new French oak. The La Landonne is always the most backward, structured, age-worthy of the lineup, and needs the most bottle age to hit maturity. It is also, however, the most consistent in terms of quality of the three single vineyards. As to the Hermitage releases, there are three cuvées, a base Hermitage and a Hermitage Ex-Voto in both red and white. Guigals purchased their primary holdings in Hermitage from Jean-Louis Grippat (now 90-year-old Marsanne vines in the Les Murets lieu-dit) and Domaine De Vallouit (mostly in the Greffieux lieu-dit) in 2001. They also gained parcels in the lieu-dit Saint Joseph and Vignes de Hospice with the Grippat purchase. Today, they have parcels in Le Méal, Beaumes, Dionnieres, and Les Bessards. The entry-level Hermitage sees three years in 50% new French oak. They release a tiny production cuvée called Ex-Voto only in top vintages, and the red sees the same four years in French oak as the single vineyard Côte Rôties. The Ex-Voto Blanc is primarily Marsanne blended with 10% Roussanne, from Les Murets (90%) and l’Hermite (10%) lieux-dits, aged 30 months in new French oak. It sees primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a rich, powerful Hermitage Blanc that has plenty of toastiness in its youth and starts to drink brilliantly with 4-5 years of bottle age. This was a massive tasting, as usual, and I’ve listed the wines in the order we went through them.