Condrieu is the ancestral home of the Viognier vine and is the source of one of the world’s most exotic white wines. In the mid-20th century, only 20 acres of Viognier remained in Condrieu, leaving the grape and the appellation in serious jeopardy. Guigal was instrumental in bringing this appellation back from near extinction, and today supplements the grapes from their own vineyards with grapes purchased from numerous small growers, ultimately vinifying nearly one-third of the entire appellation.
The tiny, parcelated appellation is located on steep granite hillsides running nearly 12 miles south from Cote-Rotie. The hillside vineyards also have sand intermixed in their soils and the vines for this wine average 30 years of age while producing only 2.4 tons per acre.
This wine was fermented at low temperatures with 1/3 in new oak barrels and 2/3 in stainless steel. After malolactic conversion was completed, the wine was aged an additional 9 months in new oak barrels before bottling.
The tiny, parcelated appellation (500 acres total) is located on steep granite hillsides beginning at a bend in the Rhône river just south of Côte Rôtie and continuing intermittently about 12 miles further south. The granite hillsides have sand intermixed in their soils, and the vines for this wine average around 30 years of age, and only produce around 2.4 tons of fruit per acre.
After hand harvesting and sorting, 1/3 of the wine was fermented in new barrels, which it aged in for 8 months. The rest was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation.
When Marcel Guigal called 2015 “the vintage of a lifetime” and on par with 1929, 1947 and 1961, the anticipation while Guigal carried out their customary extended aging was almost too much to bear. From a vintage nearly as perfect as you could get, from vine dormancy right through harvest, the wines are spellbinding, with an utterly perfect balance of charm, complexity, and power.
Replenishing rain in the winter restored the water tables to supply the plants with nutrients, and then abundant sunshine and warmth helped the vines mature the berries to perfection as the generous diurnal shift maintained the acidity and freshness of the fruit. To buy, drink, age and, above all, enjoy as often as possible!
Brilliant pale gold. The perfume (you can only call it that) has intense notes of violets, apricot, white peach, and citrus. Fresh and round on the palate, you feel the fat, the richness, yet the wine is so intensely dry and mineral. A harmony between freshness and fleshy roundness. A remarkable minerality.
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Wine Advocate - “Guigal’s 2015 Condrieu is a blockbuster that, if not for its big brother, would be one of the wines of the vintage. Aged in one-third new barrels and two-thirds in tank, it’s a rich, unctuous, thrillingly textured beauty that has plenty of orange blossom, flower oil, tangerine and peach. Fruit-loaded, with just a touch of minerality, it should be drunk over the coming 2-4 years.”
Other Wines by this Producer
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône's production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley.
The Guigal family has made serious rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also long and satisfying. Because of its quality and body, it's a rosé that you can bring to the table, and do so all year long. It is a rosé that offers both refreshment and pleasure.
Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. The reds, which are the majority of production, have wonderful warm flavors of red and black fruit, and typical Syrah pepper, spice and savory notes.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expresiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Guigal’s Gigondas is an incredible introduction to serious Southern Rhône reds, and a show-stopper at the price. In the hands of Guigal, the rich ripe fruit and savory character of the wine bursts with sheer pleasure, yet the wine displays terrific refinement, complexity, length and ability to age.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, producing small quantities of extraordinarily intense and ageworthy red wine and tiny amounts of dry white. The entire vineyard consists of 309 acres planted on a single granite hillside on the banks of the Rhône. The Hermitage Rouge is the example of a racy wine, that manages to remain seductive.
Guigal is synonymous with the Côte-Rôtie area, for bringing this great wine region to prominence, and for owning three times as much land as next largest land-owner, vinifiying 1/3 of the total appellation, and unquestionably holding the finest sites in this tiny, special area. The incredible Syrah from this area, co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, has tremendously balanced concentration, depth and finesse.
Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expressiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Even more of a discovery is Hermitage Blanc, one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley and in the small 309 acre Hermitage AOC.