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  • Country ranking ?

    42
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Garlic Roasted Pork Shoulder

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Parker 100 points / Bottled earlier this year, the 2010 Cote Rotie la Mouline is an incredible effort that gives up classic creme de cassis, spring flowers, licorice, coffee bean and spiced meat-like aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, sexy, seamless and blockbuster-styled profile on the palate. While more reserved and focused than the 2009, it nevertheless has incredible amounts of fruit and texture, thrilling purity and a finish that just won’t quit. It will certainly rival the 2009, 2005, 2003 and 1999, and when all is said and done, the 1978. It will have 4 to 5 decades of longevity. 

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.
 

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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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Wine Information

Soil type

Terraced wines in the shape of a Roman amphitheatre. Gneis with lighly coloured silicone soil with limestone lœss.

Grape variety

89% Syrah, 11% Viognier.

Average age of vines

about 75 years

Winemaking

Thermoregulated stainless steel tanks. Traditional pumping over. Alcoholic fermentation/ 4 week maceration..

Ageing

42 months in new oak

Average yield

35 Hl / hectare.

Tasting

Eye : Ruby red with red vermillion tints.

Nose : Small red fruits, blackberry and floral violet aromas.Intensely aromatic, powerful but full of finesse.

Palate : Supple with balance between the finesse of the aromas and an explosive richness due to the concentration of the wine. Greatly expressive of the terroir.

Overall : A feminine wine with voluptuous silky texture and intense aromas.

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Tasting note

color

Medium and Ruby red

ending

Long, Pure and Flavorful

flavors

Pepper, Voluptuous, Toasty, Meaty, New-oak and Floral

nose

Youthful, Pure, Complex and Fresh

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Balanced, Concentrated, Well-Integrated, Youthful, Medium-bodied, Harmonious, Focused, Fresh and Silky tannins

Verdict

Intelligent and Sophisticated

Information

Origin

Côte-Rôtie, Rhône

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Glass time

2h

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 Blanc

Hermitage Red

Hermitage White

La Turque

Saintes Pierres de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Saint-Joseph

Saint-Joseph "Lieu dit" Red

Saint-Joseph "Lieu dit" White

St Joseph Vignes de Hospice

Tavel

Inside Information

As to three single parcel releases, I reviewed the 2010 Cote Rotie La Mouline earlier this year, but was more than happy to taste it again (lucky me) for this report. Incorporating a full 11% of Viognier and coming from the steep, terraced vines in the Cote Blonde lieu-dit, it sports a heavenly bouquet of spring flowers, incense, violets, cured meats and sweet cassis. Full-bodied, voluptuous and as seamless as they come, Syrah just doesn’t get any more alluring, sexy or impressive. Give it 5-6 years and drink bottles over the following 2 decades or more.

The father/son team of Marcel and Philippe Guigal continue to keep their estate at the top of the hierarchy in the Rhône Valley. All the way from their inexpensive Côtes du Rhône to their top-end Côte Rôties and Hermtiage, the attention to detail and focus on quality is unmatched. Readers should also check out the recent Rhone Retrospective article I wrote that covered the Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices, Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde, Côte Rôtie Chateau d'Ampuis and Côte Rôtie La Mouline cuvees going back for over a decade. I said it there, and I'll say it again here, this estate is producing some of the most incredible and singular wines in the world.

Parker 100p 

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