Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 2015
Marcel Guigal is the single person most responsible for bringing this historically great wine region to prominence. The Northern Rhône Valley is the cradle of wine civilization in France, with vineyards planted today on the same spot where they were planted 2,500 years ago by Romans, and it offers a completely unique profile of wines that are so expressive and bring so much pleasure, yet satisfy the most intellectually thirsty drinker. To put it simply, Marcel Guigal transformed Côte-Rôtie, the world’s perception and love for the wines, and now with his son he has not stopped leading his obsessive attention to detail and quality.
Côte-Rôtie is situated in the northernmost region of the Rhone valley. The Syrah vine is 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 coplanted 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.
This blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier was hand-harvested and sorted before a 3-week temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel. The wine ages for 36 months in oak barrel, of which 50% is new oak. All the barrels used by Guigal are produced on site by their cooper, a rarity in the wine world.
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!
Dark ruby red. Exotic Spices, red berries and delicate oak aromas on the nose. On the palate round and supple tannins, and raspberry and blackberry flavors. A harmony of integrated acidity and tannins, both of which add aging potential, but even at an early stage are softened by long aging in oak.
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Vinous Media - “Glass-staining ruby. Powerful black/blue fruit, floral pastille, cola, olive and incense aromas pick up a smoky mineral nuance as the wine opens up. Fleshy and expansive in the mouth, offering intense, spice- and smoke-inflected black raspberry, boysenberry, violet pastille and olive paste flavors and a hint of candied licorice.”
Wine Spectator - "Dark and winey, this is youthfully tight, with a core of intense black cherry and black currant preserve flavors, encased within layers of olive, singed alder, juniper and iron. Very focused and driven through the finish. Cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2022 through 2038. Tasted twice, with consistent notes."
Jeb Dunnuck - "The 2015 Côte Rôtie Brune Et Blonde is a step up and one of the top vintages for this cuvée which, given how good 2015 is, should surprise no one. This beauty offers deep, layered notes of blackberry and cassis fruits, ground herbs, licorice, and hints of spring flowers. It’s medium to full-bodied, has terrific mid-palate depth, and needs 2-4 years of bottle age to hit prime time."
Wine Advocate - "Much more open and inviting than the Hermitage, Guigal’s 2015 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde boasts hallmark aromas of dried flowers, herbs, raspberries and black olives. Medium to full-bodied, it’s simultaneously rich and silky, showing fine, balanced acidity on the crisp finish. Considering it may account for as much as a third of the appellation’s volume, it’s a remarkable achievement and testament to the tremendous quality of the vintage. Even folks who buy and cellar the La Las will want to have some of this in their cellars for early drinking.”
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