Ooh La La

Today’s Story: E. Guigal

I previously wrote about Guigal when I reviewed the 2004 Côte-Rôtie ‘La Turque’ this past February, and I am returning to review the same wine from a younger vintage today.

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 southern Rhône.

Today’s Wine: 2011 Côte-Rôtie ‘La Turque’

93% Syrah, 7% Viognier; 13% ABV

The 2011 La Turque is translucent deep ruby in color. I decanted this for 4-6 hours and it does need more time in the cellar (I’d say 5-7 years or so), but it’s very hard to resist right now. The nose showcases aromas of black cherry, blackberry, plum, bacon fat, maple syrup, smoked game, black olive, cracked black pepper, clove, vanilla, coffee grounds, and oak. Meanwhile the palate displays notes of blueberry, blackberry, plum, black cherry, smoke, barbecue braised beef, bacon fat, toffee, mocha, gravel, and lightly charred oak. This is medium- to full-bodied with high acidity, fine-grained but high tannins, and a very long finish.

Price: $400 average online (I paid $325). At this price point I find it difficult to call any wine a “great value,” however I think this La Turque is absolutely worth its price. I will certainly try to buy more if I come across it again.

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