80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Mourvèdre and others from 45 year-old vines. A deep dark red in the glass with aromas of spices and mature red fruits. In the mouth, round tannins with powerful complexity. A rich unctuous wine with notes of mature plums, hazelnuts and red fruits. A very rich wine full of harmony and balance.
Serve with: Red meat, game bird and cheese.
"...the 2003 Chateauneuf-du-Pape fully deserves a place alongside its more renowned siblings, with elegant refinement and subtle, soil-driven intensity. Its dark, pungent flavors of black cherry and spiced plum are richly prominent..." -Wine & Spirits
"...a deep ruby/purple color as well as a sweet nose of new saddle leather, garrigue, pepper, kirsch, and blackberries. Dense, full-bodied, and tasty..." -Wine Advocate
"Very rich and deep, with powerful, jammy raspberry and cherry flavors, dusty tannins and a long, chocolatey finish... -International Wine Cellar
The Guigal domain was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in the ancient village of Ampuis, home of the wines of the Côte-Rôtie. In these vineyards that are over 2400 years old, you can still see the small terraced walls characteristic of the Roman period. Etienne Guigal arrived in this region in 1923 at the age of 14. He made wine for over 67 vintages and, at the beginning of his career, participated in the development of the Vidal-Fleury establishment.
Despite his young age, Marcel Guigal took over from his father in 1961 when the latter was victim to a brutal illness rendering him blind. Marcel's hard work and perseverance enabled the Guigals to buy out Vidal-Fleury in 1984, although the establishment retains its own identity and commercial autonomy. In 2000, the Guigals purchased the Jean-Louis Grippat estate in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage, as well as the Domaine de Vallouit in Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.
In the cellars of the Guigal estate in Ampuis, the northern appellations of the Rhône Valley are produced and aged. These are the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The great appellations of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône, are also aged in the Ampuis cellars.
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Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Southern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
There are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regions
When it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and
Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
I bought a 1/2 bottle of this and it was quite nice. Besides the spice notes (very subtle), the aroma of saddle leather was defintely the most pronounced. The palate was quite beautiful and full of dark berries! This sand dry wine hung one the tongue for a nice amount of time. Overall pleasant surprise! This was rated 87 by Wine Spectator but it is better then that rating would suggest.
Don't get me wrong, this is an interesting gem of a wine that left me very satisfied for the $40 spent, but the prominent "saddle leather" smell is more of an antiseptic leather and reminded me of band aids. However, if you're lucky enough to grab a bottle be ready for a roller coaster of sensations. Very rustic and smokey. Highly recommended.
A pleasant surprise for this Bourdeaux. Usually I decant them for about 20-30 minutes, but this time I took a sip from the beginning and it was just wonderful. Great nose, blood red, beautiful color and smells of molasses.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.