Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde (375ML half-bottle) 2017
Dark ruby red in color. The nose presents spices, red berries and delicate oak aromas. The wine opens with round, soft tannin that are followed by rasberry, blackberry and vanilla. Overall, the wine is balanced between scarcely perceptible acidity and tannins which add ageing potential and softened by long ageing in oak.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a terrific vintage of Brune et Blonde, a blend of both estate and purchased fruit from the Côte Brune’s schist soils and the Blonde’s granite. The concentration gained in the warm, dry summer of 2017 is reflected in the wine’s color, as dark purple as a Kalamata olive; the flavors are clenched in a fist of tannins and oak smoke. But give the wine a day to open and it turns cigar-smoky, with a cool blueberry-skin feel to the fruit, silky and refined—and it remains that way for days on end.
Lively, with a mix of damson plum and bitter cherry notes lined with sanguine and iron hints. An understated style, but this has range and is sneaky long, with dried savory and bay leaf details on the finish.
The 2017 Côte Rôtie Brune Et Blonde showed beautifully. It has the sunny, sexy style of the vintage in its kirsch and black raspberry fruits as well as plenty of spiced meats, dried flowers, and incense-like aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, elegant, and balanced on the palate, it's already superb yet will develop more classic Côte Rôtie meatiness and spice with 2-4 years of bottle age and drink fabulously for a decade.
As a standard-bearer for the appellation—it is the region's largest-production wine by a good margin—Guigal's 2017 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde is a solid success. Scents of red raspberries and green olives mingle with hints of violets and cracked pepper on the nose, while the medium-bodied palate is smooth, silky and suave. The finish boasts enough dusty tannin to support medium-term aging, while the complex fruit and savory notes linger elegantly.
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, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône, are also aged in the Ampuis cellars.
The cultivation of vines here began with Greek settlers who arrived in 600 BC. Its proximity to Vienne was important then and also when that city became a Roman settlement but its situation, far from the negociants of Tain, led to its decline in more modern history. However the 1990s brought with it a revival fueled by one producer, Marcel Guigal, who believed in the zone’s potential. He, along with the critic, Robert Parker, are said to be responsible for the zone’s later 20th century renaissance.
Where the Rhone River turns, there is a build up of schist rock and a remarkable angle that produces slopes to maximize the rays of the sun. Cote Rotie remains one of the steepest in viticultural France. Its varied slopes have two designations. Some are dedicated as Côte Blonde and others as Côte Brune. Syrahs coming from Côte Blonde are lighter, more floral, and ready for earlier consumption—they can also include up to 20% of the highly scented Viognier. Those from Côte Brune are more sturdy, age-worthy and are typically nearly 100% Syrah. Either way, a Cote Rotie is going to have a particularly haunting and savory perfume, expressing a more feminine side of the northern Rhone.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”