2018 E Guigal Brune et Blonde Côte-Rôtie
Côte-Rôtie is situated in the northernmost region of the Rhone valley. The Syrah vines are planted on steep, terraced hillsides which catch and focus the sun’s heat, giving the region its reputation and name: “roasted slope.” A small percentage of the white Viognier grape is co-planted with the Syrah, and the two are harvested and fermented together, giving the wine more elegance and lightness. The Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal refers to the fact that the grapes come from the two areas of Côte-Rôtie, the Côte Brune and Côte Blonde. The historical legend is that long ago a lord deeded the Côte Brune to his dark-haired daughter and the Côte Blonde to his blond daughter. The soils of the Côte Brune are indeed darker, containing more iron and some clay while the paler soils of the Côte Blonde have more sand and limestone.
Along with Guigal’s three La La wines, this bottling showcases Guigal’s stylistic achievement in the appellation of Cote Rotie. This Cote-Rotie bottling is a youngster at this early stage of development. Aromas of sweet incense and savory spices welcome you at the door. As you enter you are greeted with purple violets and dark macerated fruits that penetrate your palate. You reflect back on your first sip and notice complex undertones of crushed rocks, ground pepper and bay leaf along with a velvety mouth-feel that carries you to the lengthy finish. The wine remains fresh, harmonious and polished on the edges. This sophisticated and elegant wine ends as a symphony in your mouth.
I tasted this wine weekly for up to one month. It showed excellent pedigree each time, with everything coming together after four weeks of aeration. Congrats to the team at E Guigal for this superlative effort.
By W Peter Hoyne