Hermitage Blanc 2016
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. 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.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, but Hermitage Blanc is one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley. Composed primarily of Marsanne (95%) and small amounts of Roussanne (5%), it is relatively rare, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC.
This is a rare wine, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC. The Marsanne (95%) Roussanne (5%) fruit is harvested from old vines between 30-90 years of age. Various blocks are planted on granite limestone, clay loam and sandy gravel topsoils on the famous granite mother rock, which yields wine of tremendous structure.
Yields are under 2.3 tons per acre, requiring extremely judicious farming.
Temperature controlled fermentation, between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the wine ages for 24 months in second year barrels.
Following the spectacular 2015 vintage in the Northern Rhone, the 2016 is another excellent vintage, though the path was not nearly as straightforward as in 2015. The spring was cool and wet and the vintage looking very late and complicated. Hot weather in July and no rain until September meant that vines were stressed from the other direction. A little bit of rain was needed at the end of September, and then a huge bit of luck to have good weather through October. That’s exactly what happened. The resulting wines have concentration with a lot of freshness, and an uncommon openness given the intensity of both these factors. We anticipate 2015/2016 to be a battle of quality and differing styles to be played out over many years.
The wine evolves in a remarkable fashion, tasting vibrant and rich with notes of spice just after bottling, developing a softer, rounder character after a few years, and returning with renewed freshness and much greater complexity after 10 or 15 years in the cellar. There is an unmistakable minerality on the palate, and a stacked-mid palate that lingers.
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Vinous Media -
"Light, vivid gold. Mineral-driven peach brandy, white pear, lemon pith and succulent herb aromas show fine detail and a hint of green tea. Densely packed and focused on the palate, offering an array of orchard and pit fruit flavors that take on anise and bitter quinine qualities as the wine opens up. Closes very long and stony, with a strong echo of bitter pear skin and a sweetening touch of honey."
James Suckling - "This offers a fresh array of melon and pears with hints of mirabelles. The palate has a more savory stance with rich and ripe peaches and pears, plenty of spice and a savory, almond finish."
Jeb Dunnuck - "The 2016 Hermitage Blanc gives up plenty of golden fruits, honeysuckle and that obvious Hermitage minerality to go with medium to full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. It’s classic stuff, with a great finish, and will keep for over a decade, although it’s certainly terrific today."
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.