Today’s Story: Guigal
Guigal was established in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in Ampuis, a small village in the Côte-Rôtie appellation of the northern Rhône region in France. Etienne arrived in Côte-Rôtie at the age of 14 in 1924, and early in his career he helped develop Vidal-Fleury for 15 years before starting his namesake venture. His son, Marcel Guigal, took over management of the Guigal domain in 1961 when Etienne was struck with temporary but total blindness, and Marcel was joined by his wife Bernadette in 1973. As Marcel and Bernadette worked tirelessly to expand the family business (namely by purchasing Vidal-Fleury in the early 1980s and Château d’Ampuis in 1995), their son Philippe (born 1975) grew amongst the vines with expectations of one day joining the domain. Today, Philippe serves as Guigal’s oenologist alongside his wife Eve and the two strive to produce the greatest wines of the Rhône Valley.
Guigal has experienced significant expansion since their first acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in 2001 when they purchased the domains Jean-Louis Grippat and de Vallouit to not only strengthen their stature in Côte-Rôtie but expand into the Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, and Crozes-Hermitage appellations. In 2003, Guigal started producing their own wine barrels to not only learn more about the entire wine production process but control another facet of their business. Guigal expanded yet again in 2006 by purchasing Domaine de Bonserine, and made strides in 2017 by purchasing Château de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to establish a foothold in souther Rhône.
Today’s Wine: 2004 Côte-Rôtie ‘La Turque’
93% Syrah, 7% Viognier; 13% ABV
The 2004 La Turque is mostly opaque and medium ruby in color. This requires at least an hour decant, but then the nose blossoms to emit aromas of plum, blackcurrant, bing cherry, licorice, cola, smoked game, loamy soil, white truffle, flint, cracked pepper, and oak. Once in the mouth, the wine showcases notes of ripe red cherry, redcurrant, candied raspberry, dried blueberry, forest floor, graphite, earthy mushroom, leather, smokey tobacco, dried green herbs, and mineral. This supple and elegant wine is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long finish. 350 cases produced.
Price: $300. Though not one of the “greatest” vintages of La Turque, this is an exceptional wine drinking beautifully right now. I would say this has another five years left in its prime drinking window and could be a great introduction to Guigal’s “La La’s.” Pair this with wagyu filet mignon, grilled lamb, hare, or pheasant.