x
  • Country ranking ?

    74
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    rack of lamb

Parker 100 points: The 1978 Cote Rotie la Mouline possessed an otherworldly, full-bodied texture to go with a layered, rich and perfumed bouquet of forest floor, sweet blackcurrants, olive, underbrush and game. This puppy is at full maturity and then some (and I suspect has been there for some time), yet still offers an incredible, singular drinking experience that I wish every reader could experience.

One of the reference point estates for top quality wines in the world today, the family run Guigal operation was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal. Today, Etienne’s son, Marcel, and his son Philippe, are firmly in control here, and are without a doubt producing some of the most singular, sought after wines in the world. Due to the size of this tasting, I’ll keep my comments short, but the incredible quality coming from this operation is astounding, and a tasting here is always one of the highlights of any trip through the region. Furthermore, while a lot is said about the extended oak aging regime here, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines on a regular basis that still has any doubts about the genius going on here. In short, these single vineyard (and their blends as well) Cote Roties are some of the greatest wines money can buy. For this tasting (which, with the Guigals, is always a large one!), we focused on their Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospice release, and then three of their Cote Roties, starting with the classic Brune et Blonde, then the Chateau d’Ampuis, and finishing with their single vineyard La Mouline.

Looking first at their Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices release, it comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. The exposure here (which is critical for Saint Joseph as the more southern facing the plot, the warmer the site is) is mostly east facing and the soils are pure granite (identical to the decomposed granite found in the Les Bessards lieu-dit on Hermitage Hills). Compared to the Saint Joseph lieu-dit, which has a slightly more southern exposure, harvest here is always 5-7 days later.



Moving north to Côte Rôtie, the Guigal’s Brune et Blonde is their entry level release that comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate. It drinks beautifully on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages.

Stepping up over the Brune et Blonde, the Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis is named after the Chateau d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhone River, and was purchased by the Guigal’s in 1995) and is a blend of their top estate vineyards. Coming from La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin and La Viria, it spends close to four years in new French oak (handled just like the single vineyard releases) and there’s roughly 30,000 bottles produced in each vintage. While the single vineyard releases get all the buzz, this is isn’t far behind in quality, especially in recent vintages, and can represent an incredible value.


We finished the tasting with a vertical of La Mouline. One of the three single vineyard Cote Roties produced, this cuvee comes all from the La Mouline lieu-dit that’s located in the more western (close to the middle actually) side of appellation. For simplicities sake, you could say it’s in the Cote Blonde part of the region, but in reality, Cote Rotie is much more complex and diverse. Due to its exposure, this vineyard is always the first of the three single vineyards to be harvest, and also contains some of the oldest vines on the estate. Fermented using pump overs (as opposed to punch downs for the La Torque and submersion cap on the La Landonne), it’s cofermented with varying degrees of Viognier, which in most vintages, ends up being around 10% of the blend. Like the Chateau d’Ampuis and the other two single vineyard releases, it sees close to four years in 100% new French oak, of which every trace integrates after a few years in bottle. It’s always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases, and is ready to drink at an earlier stage. For example, the 1999 La Mouline is gloriously mature, while the 1989 La Torque is still an infant. Nevertheless, as the 1978 reviewed here attests to, it has no problem evolving for decades (although I don’t recommend holding bottles that long). In short, this was a flight of Côte Rôties I’ll not forget anytime soon!

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The Story

La Mouline is a steeply terraced amphitheater on the Côte Blonde, a shape that shelters the 2.5 acre site from the wind and acts as a heat trap.  Soils are gneiss with lightly colored silicone containing limestone loess.  The site is planted to 89% Syrah and 11% Viognier, with the two varieties picked together and co-fermented. This extra dose of Viognier gives La Mouline its telltale aromatic complexity and additional softness and roundness; it is often called the most feminine of Guigal’s Côte-Rôties.

 

La Mouline is historically the oldest vineyard in Cote-Rotie, with walls dating back 2,400 years, and today its vines are the oldest in the region, averaging 90 years of age, with the oldest dating back to plantings in the 1890s, just after phylloxera. Acquired in 1966, this was Guigal’s first single-vineyard Côte-Rôtie.

The wine sees traditional pumpovers, and alcoholic fermentation and maceration last around 4 weeks.  Aging is for 42 months in new oak barrels made at the Chateau d’Ampuis cooperage.

 

In order to enhance quality the Guigals worked to acquire ownership in vineyards. Purchased in 1965, the just under one-hectare La Mouline plantation, which is located on the slopes of Côte Blonde, set the stage for the Guigals’ present reputation. Introduced the very next year, the La Mouline single-vineyard proved to be a smashing success, and the active acquisition of vineyards continued. However, it would be more than 10 years before the Guigals introduced their next single-vineyard wine, the La Landonne, in 1978. Just over 2 hectares in size, the plot was purchased piece by piece from 17 different small-scale growers.

The Guigals finally revealed their true greatness in 1984 when they acquired the oldest winemaker in the Rhône, Etienne’s former employer, Vidal-Fleury. This significant acquisition instantly made the Guigals the leading producer in the Côte-Rôtie region, giving them a 35% share of the entire region’s output. This new acquisition also gave the Guigals ownership of Vidal-Fleury’s La Turque plot. Introduced in 1985, the La Turque cemented Guigal’s reputation as one of the most prestigious producers of single-vineyard wines in the Rhône. The single-vineyard wines gave the Guigals the authority that helped them to profile their production from the Côtes-du-Rhône wines on. This is how Guigal evolved into the region's leading commercial AOC brand, whose only real contender is, for the time being, Paul Jaboulet Ainé.

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Vintage 1978

PLOTS LEADING TO WORLD RENOWN
In order to enhance quality the Guigals worked to acquire ownership in vineyards. Purchased in 1965, the just under one-hectare La Mouline plantation, which is located on the slopes of Côte Blonde, set the stage for the Guigals’ present reputation. Introduced the very next year, the La Mouline single-vineyard proved to be a smashing success, and the active acquisition of vineyards continued. However, it would be more than 10 years before the Guigals introduced their next single-vineyard wine, the La Landonne, in 1978. Just over 2 hectares in size, the plot was purchased piece by piece from 17 different small-scale growers. The Guigals finally revealed their true greatness in 1984 when they acquired the oldest winemaker in the Rhône, Etienne’s former employer, Vidal-Fleury. This significant acquisition instantly made the Guigals the leading producer in the Côte-Rôtie region, giving them a 35% share of the entire region’s output. This new acquisition also gave

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

11 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium and Brick red

ending

Endless, Pure and Lingering

flavors

Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Violet, Toasty, Smoky and Meaty

nose

Intense, Charming, Complex and Seductive

taste

Average in Acidity, Well-structured, Perfectly balanced, Concentrated, Developing, Full-bodied, Focused, Rich, Vigor and Silky tannins

Verdict

Sophisticated and Masterpiece

Written Notes

We went to La Mouline next, the best of the three “LaLas” if you ask me.  The 1978 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was rich and decadent, full of smoke and white pepper aromas.  Its palate was creamy and spiny with a long finish that had pinches of jalapeno.  The Mogul found it ‘massive,’ and it was a different level of rich and thick (97).

  • 97p
Guigal La Mouline 1978 / 100 points /Perfect bottle. Decanted for two hours. Lovely bright garnet colour. The nose reveals sound and open aromas of violet, cinnamon, spices, olive and game with some toasty new oak nuances. This wine has innumerable layers of graceful yet fully ripe fruit, creating a harmonious interaction of already quite soft tannin and fresh acidity. Excessive weight and extension in the mouth. There is a perfect balance between all the elements, followed by velvety-textured wine's finish lasts for over a minute This one of the most concentrated La Mouline is already very drinkable, and will easily last through 2030 given suitable cellar conditions.
  • 100p
An extraordinary wine in all aspects: a dark, brooding, profound red in color; dark fruit, truffles, spices on the nose; abundant with minerality, strata of depth and complexity, some leather and musk, dark fruit, slate and some gaminess envelop the palate. Voluptuous and yet refined, vibrant with flowers, truffles, and engaging smokiness on the mid palate before escalating towards a seemingly endless finish that is both sumptuous and seamless. The La Mouline being, among the single-vineyard wines of Guigal, the one with the oldest vines, and with an addition of Viognier that uplifts and enlivens its aromatics and palate, and allows the wine to also be enjoyed while relatively young. But the alchemy that occurs with age with these wines, where the fruit provides cadences rather than dominating, and as with the ’78, richness and elegance collaboratively co-exist (you see this starting to happen with the ’82 La Mouline as well), is utterly remarkable. 99 Points
  • 99p

Information

Origin

Côte-Rôtie, Rhône

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Best buy

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

None

Other wines from this producer

Brune et Blonde

Château d´Ampuis

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Condrieu

Condrieu La Doriane

Condrieu Luminiscence

Côte-Rôtie La Landonne

Côte-Rôtie La Turque

Côtes du Rhône Red

Côtes du Rhône White

Crozes-Hermitage Red

Crozes-Hermitage White

Ermitage Ex-Voto

Ex-Voto White

Gigondas

Hermitage Red

Hermitage White

La Turque

Saint-Joseph "Lieu dit" Red

Saint-Joseph "Lieu dit" White

St Joseph Vignes de Hospice

Tavel

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1978  ( E.Guigal )

We went to La Mouline next, the best of the three “LaLas” if you ask me.  The 1978 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was rich and decadent, full of smoke and white pepper aromas.  Its palate was creamy and spiny with a long finish that had pinches of jalapeno.  The Mogul found it ‘massive,’ and it was a different level of rich and thick (97).

28d 8h ago

100p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1978  ( E.Guigal )

"Guigal La Mouline 1978 / 100 points /Perfect bottle. Decanted for two hours. Lovely bright garnet colour. The nose reveals sound and open aromas of violet, cinnamon, spices, olive and game with some toasty new oak nuances. This wine has innumerable layers of graceful yet fully ripe fruit, creating a harmonious interaction of already quite soft tannin and fresh acidity. Excessive weight and extension in the mouth. There is a perfect balance between all the elements, followed by velvety-textured wine's finish lasts for over a minute This one of the most concentrated La Mouline is already very drinkable, and will easily last through 2030 given suitable cellar conditions."

1y 5m ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1978  ( E.Guigal )

" This is the second time I have had a bottle from this very same case, and it was unbelievable again. Aromas of blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, bacon and whip cream jumped out of this exotic wonder. Robert Bohr finally got into the act, calling 'its concentration of fruit stunning.' The fruit was so thick, it was bordering on scary. Cassis, violet, black raspberry, leather and musk were all present as well. Its nose was so good, it was almost too good to drink&almost! Flavors of spice, bacon, menthol, violet and slate caressed our palates, and if I wasn't a bit fatigued, and if we had had it earlier in the night, it probably would have been a 99-pointer as the other bottle we had recently."

2y 16d ago

99p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1978  ( E.Guigal )

"An extraordinary wine in all aspects: a dark, brooding, profound red in color; dark fruit, truffles, spices on the nose; abundant with minerality, strata of depth and complexity, some leather and musk, dark fruit, slate and some gaminess envelop the palate. Voluptuous and yet refined, vibrant with flowers, truffles, and engaging smokiness on the mid palate before escalating towards a seemingly endless finish that is both sumptuous and seamless. The La Mouline being, among the single-vineyard wines of Guigal, the one with the oldest vines, and with an addition of Viognier that uplifts and enlivens its aromatics and palate, and allows the wine to also be enjoyed while relatively young. But the alchemy that occurs with age with these wines, where the fruit provides cadences rather than dominating, and as with the ’78, richness and elegance collaboratively co-exist (you see this starting to happen with the ’82 La Mouline as well), is utterly remarkable. 99 Points"

2y 6m ago

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