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Maison Guigal acquires Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The famous Rhône producer, E Guigal has invested in the Southern Rhône valley purchasing Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Producing wines exclusively under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, this stunning property is one of the oldest domains in the region; it is listed in the land registry as far back as the 17th century. Domaine de Nalys covers over 50 hectares in total with 3 exceptional vineyards of similar size: « Nalys », at the heart of the domain (registered lieu-dit Grand Pierre), « le bois Sénéchal » (registered lieu-dit Séneseau) and the famous la Crau terroir.

A well-known personality, Doctor Duffays owned Domaine de Nalys until 1975 when it was sold to Groupama and it has been in their hands ever since. Bowled over by this property, Marcel Guigal comments,

 Maison Guigal has been selecting and ageing wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1946, so it is a natural progression for us to invest in this prestigious appellation now.

 

Maison Guigal has already proved its dedication to producing quality wines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape; in 2002, the Wine Spectator’s top 100 list placed its 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the number 1 position. Domaine de Nalys is already renowned for its white wines and has exceptional potential for the production of great red wines in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation.

Philippe Guigal, grandson of the eponymous house states: « With the acquisition of Domaine de Nalys our family is very excited to join the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. We are keen to get to work and fly the flag for this emblematic appellation in the Southern Rhône valley ».

Amaury Cornut-Chauvinc, President of Groupama Mediterranean comments: « We are absolutely delighted that a house as prestigious as Domaine Guigal is taking over at Domaine de Nalys, which has been in our hands since 1976. With their knowledge and expertise we are confident that a bright future awaits the wines of Domaine de Nalys.

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History

The year is 1927 and 18-year-old Etienne Guigal lifts the iron knocker on the door of the Rhône’s most well-known winemaker, Vidal-Fluery.

Being a cellar assistant in Joseph Vidal-Fleury’s prestigious company would be the perfect launchpad for the future. Exactly 80 years later the door is opened by a slender young man with dark hair. This is Etienne Guigal’s grandson, Philippe. Now 32, he owns the Vidal-Fleury estate, where his grandfather rose from cellar assistant to become the chef de cave. Philippe produces some of the world's most highly esteemed wines. His life also includes a Roman-style villa, with attendant parklands and a swimming pool, red sports cars, a helicopter and a 16th century Renaissance manor, with perfectly manicured gardens.

He is living a future that his grandfather could not possibly have imagined. How did the Guigal family’s dreams come true and what dreams does the future patriarch Philippe Guigal have? Over the span of 60 years the Guigal family business has grown to become one of the largest and most prestigious in the Rhône region. In the New World similar success stories have happened in even shorter spans of time, but in France this rate of growth is considered exceptionally fast. This success story opens in 1946, when talented winemaker Etienne Guigal resigned from his position at Vidal-Fleury. He founded the Guigal wine house and laid a foundation for success, for which his son Marcel was largely responsible.

A student of oenology, the 17-year-old Marcel had to quit his studies and assume an active role in his father’s business, when Etienne was unexpectedly struck blind in 1961. Marcel served as his father’s eyes and aide in the cultivation and production of wine. He also took over the development of his family business. Despite his young age, Marcel Guigal had a clear vision. He would become the leading producer of quality wines in the region. Instead of outsourcing the growing of grapes, the Guigals focused on ownership in vineyards. In addition to this, production facilities, production methods and equipment were constantly updated. The Guigals, however, based their operations on the respecting of regional traditions.

 

In the 1960s the Guigals were subjected to intense criticism when they modernised their wine production. The director of the administrative body overseeing wine production in the region threatened to exclude Guigal’s Côte-Rôtie wines from the region’s AOC classification. The use of new oak barrels was considered a method that went against tradition. Only 17, Marcel Guigal made a definitive declaration: “The AOC classification in our region is based on three things: continuity, loyalty and local regulations. There are two hundred-year-old books in our library stating that first class Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie wines were aged in new oak barrels for three to four years. I’m young, so I’m flexible. For my part, you’re more than welcome to use your 50-60-year-old oak barrels, but don’t come to me and say that I have no respect for traditions or loyalty. I’m evidently the only producer here who does. You yourselves gave up the traditional use of new oak because of the lack of funds and availability coming out of the First and Second World Wars. We don’t have that problem, so we are using new oak - in accordance with tradition.

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Vineyards

VINEYARD

« Nature can only be managed by obeying its laws » F.BACON

The GUIGAL estate owns vineyards in Condrieu and the Côte-Rôtie with plots which produce some of its most exceptional wines including, « La Doriane » in Condrieu, and the famous Côte-Rôtie Crus, « La Mouline », « La Turque », « La Landonne » and the Côte-Rôtie, « Château d’Ampuis ».

L’Ermitage « Ex-Voto », product of the mythical terroirs of Hermitage, is produced in the very best vintages only whilst the white and red Saint-Joseph, « Lieu-Dit » wines as well as the famous red Saint-Joseph, « Vignes de l’Hospice » are undisputed benchmarks of quality for the Appellation.

 

The GUIGAL establishment vinifies and ages the wines from the Northern Rhône appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage in its cellars at Ampuis. The prestigious wines of the Southern Rhône appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône are also aged in the cellars at Ampuis.

 

The methods of viticulture are always in keeping with an omnipresent respect for the environment. Moderate, controlled prevention against illness and vine parasites allows the grapes cultivated on the estate to reveal fully the complexity of the most exceptional terroirs of the Northern Rhône. From generation to generation, the standards of excellence imposed on the selection and vinification processes have enabled the Guigal estate to present the Guigal Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie « Brune & Blonde » as exemplary benchmarks of these two prestigious appellations year after year.

The Côte-Rôtie vineyards cover an area of about 230 hectares and are composed of the Côte Brune, upstream of the river Reynard and the Côte Blonde, situated down-river. These vines were planted by the Romans nearly 24 centuries ago. The Côte Brune makes its mark in a very masculine way with the nearly exclusive presence of Syrah. As for the Côte Blonde, a very feminine touch is added by the presence of Viognier which brings elegance to the Syrah. Much more than a museum, this vineyard is very much alive, although with yields which are limited intentionally.

 

In the Côte-Rôtie, the GUIGAL estate owns several jewels including the famous Côte-Rôtie « La Mouline » situated on the Côte Blonde vineyard which distinguishes itself by its shape which is characteristic of a Roman amphitheatre. In this ancient theater, exceptionally, the enjoyment flows from the tiers to the arena. Situated on the Côte Brune, « La Turque » facing fully South benefits from maximum exposure to the sun and also from a complex terroir made up of Schist and iron oxide which transmit finesse and strength to the wine. With its vertiginous slopes of nearly 45 degrees, « La Landonne » is an extremely impressive vineyard. It is planted solely with Syrah. Finally, the Côte-Rôtie « Château d’Ampuis » is produced from historical plots which are also amongst the very best terroirs of the GUIGAL estate.

The Condrieu appellation covers about 150 hectares. Overhanging the right bank of the Rhône, this vineyard is planted exclusively with Viognier, a variety imported from Dalmatia at the beginning of our era. Condrieu « La Doriane » is the jewel in our estate’s crown in this appellation. The GUIGAL estate also owns vineyards in Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage with prestigious plots and exceptional terroir.

 

On the famous Hermitage slopes the red and white Ex-Voto wines, produced only in the very best vintages, emanate from evocatively named plots : Bessards, Hermite, Greffieux, Murets... Only by blending these precious terroirs can we produce THE bottle of the selected vintage, as if by magic.

On the Right bank of the Rhône reign the properties of the Saint-Joseph appellation which previously belonged largely to the estate, Jean-louis GRIPPAT. The Saint-Joseph « Lieu-Dit » planted with old vines, produces quality red and white wines which are undisputable benchmarks for this up-and-coming appellation in the Northern Rhône.

Last but not least, Saint-joseph « Vignes de l’Hospice » is cultivated on a unique slope composed of granite. The vines are literally suspended on the vertiginous slopes which overlook the town of Tournon. This vineyard is a treasure which produces a precious and rare nectar. The GUIGAL estate comprises a total of around 60 hectares.

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Winemaking

Vinification, transmission from generation to generation

Vinification requires the perfect mastery of skills honed by our ancestors to produce top-quality wine. Each stage of the process demands extreme care and attention to detail at all times. This is where the quintessence of a great wine is split between artisanal techniques and the modern tools of vinification. This duality brings out the complexity of the grape variety’s character and the specific characteristics of the terroirs from which they come.

Ageing quality wines in the Rhône Valley

Cloaked in silence and the cool darkness of the cellars, the still barrels nurture their precious contents year after year. This calm is deceptive, however, as nowhere else is such intense activity at play. Here, the oak is king; alone it is in charge of the subtle exchange which allows the wine to evolve and improve slowly and consistently under the watchful eye of the winemaker. Again, alone it enhances the raw material produced from the fruit and the terroir with delicate nuances of oak, vanilla and noble tannins. Without overpowering, it reveals the authenticity of the wine with a profound respect for its balance, its origins and the vintage. Each day, the wine becomes more refined, more expressive and bolder in the barrel. It lies patiently in wait for the perfect moment when it will be bottled.

Producing exceptional wines

The wines of the Maison Guigal are crafted in the family’s tasting room that lies in the very heart of the historic cellars of the domain. A daily ritual is performed in the calm of this sanctuary as father and son work on their precious blends. Aromas, structure, flavours - each nuance is studied. Hence the reason why long months of tasting are required to achieve excellence and evoke intense and authentic emotion. Through this natural alchemy, the balance and consistent quality of the wines of this great Rhône estate are ensured vintage after vintage.

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Inside information

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 “Our future is in the Rhône.

If we ever feel the need to expand, we will do it here. The Southern Rhône is filled with very attractive areas,” states Philippe Guigal, who confesses a predilection for Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. Born in 1975, Philippe Guigal completed his studies in oenology in Dijon, did an internship at Château Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux, and received his degree in oenology in 1997. In the making of fine red wines he sees eye to eye with his father and grandfather, but when it comes to the making of white wine he has introduced a host of fresh, new ideas: “I’m in a very favourable position, because my father lets me experiment and learn that way. In ten years I’ve been able to make significant strides in our production of white wine.” Philippe has grown up under the tutelage of his father and grandfather. The Guigal empire was created by the whole family pulling together, without compromising on quality. This has given Philippe a humility and respect for the work that his forebears have done. He knows his place and is aware of the possibilities. Even though Philippe Guigal, who grew up in luxurious surroundings, could just as well rest on the laurels of his successful family business, he will not. Philippe wants to keep moving forward: “It’s useless to think you'll make progress by only looking back,” states Philippe.

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21 different wines with 218 vintages

People

  • Philippe Guigal

    It’s useless to think you'll make progress by only looking back
  • Robert Parker

    How does this planet´s greatest winemaker continue to turn out profound wines years after year?

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Wine Moments

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 E.Guigal  has updated producer and wine information

16d 21h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  6 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Guigal La Turque 2018 is pure perfection in a glass. So persistent. Very dense, with flavors of smoked bacon, coffee bean, cracked pepper and licorice and it hits the palate with a massively concentrated decadence. Finishes with superb clarity, spiciness and length, leaving a smoky mineral note behind. Should age marvelously and slowly.

1m 11d ago

 E.Guigal  has updated producer and wine information

1m 27d ago

 Richard Hemming MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  4 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  31 wines 

Penfolds G5, Released on 1 November, final one of the 'g' trio. 2,200 bottles made. 2018 and 2016 (blended out of barrel), plus 2014, 2012 and 2010 (blended out of bottle). 70% Barossa. 97% Shiraz, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Finished in used oak.
Opened ten hours earlier. Intoxicating oak scent – drenched with coconut and vanilla. Lusciously fruited, of course, with a few degrees more subtlety than the Grange 2017. Brambles from start to finish, with not a thorn in sight. It is a marvel of blending, without any peppery character, but all the richness and history of Barossa Shiraz. Finishes with black liquorice.

6m 19d ago

 E.Guigal  has updated producer and wine information

8m 14d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Ceretto Barolo Brunate 2013 –  La Morra. Pale ruby with orange tinges. Although the Brunate has the same ageing regime of one year in barrique, of which 10% was new, the oak is much more noticeable here than in the Bricco Rocche just tasted. Elegant and subtle focused fruit with fine, grainy tannins. Finely tuned, elegant wine with a subtle fresh finish. 17+/20 points.

8m 14d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  8 wines 

It's truly amazing how big Napa cabs can deliver full enjoyment at their very young stage. In a blind tasting I was sure that the wines were from late 2000s, not late 2010s! So smooth and well-integrated and harmonous. Pure pleasure!    

9m 30d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  4 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  21 wines 

2017 Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque / Ruby. Scented, liquorice, spices, blackberries and blueberries, nuanced and deep, rich yet floral high notes nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, red and dark fruits, sweet liquorice and vanilla, layered and deep, long indeed. Stunning wine. 98

11m 4d ago

 Andreas Larsson / Best Sommelier in the World 2004, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  6 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Guigal La Landonne 2017/ Usually my favourite is La Landonne and no exception this time – despite the charm and flair of La Mouline, this has so much stuffing with incredible layers of inky dark fruit, powerful and incredibly persistent, I suppose it´s more politically correct to like depth, complexity and elegance than lushness, generosity and opulence, as much as I like both, the 2017 Landonne belonging in the former category has it all! I don´t like to score when not blind tasting but… a bloody perfect wine!

1y 1m ago

 E.Guigal  has updated producer and wine information

1y 3m ago

 E.Guigal  has updated producer and wine information

1y 5m ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  E.Guigal . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Gaja Sori Tildin 2017 / Coming from a warmer, south-facing site, the 2016 Barbaresco Sori Tildin is a more concentrated, vibrant wine compared to the straight Barbaresco and has vivid notes of bright cherry fruits, rose petals, road tar, violets and even a hint of orange blossom. Incredible on the palate, with medium to full body, an incredible, seamless texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a monster finish. The tannins here are unquestionably on another level and are perfectly ripe, and this just about off-the-charts 2016 has a Grand Cru Red Burgundy-like texture, elegance, and stature. This bottle didn't hit prime time until the second day, so either give bottles a healthy decant or, even better, 5-7 years in a cold cellar.

1y 6m ago

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