About this WINE
Guigal is the most famous produer in Côte Rôtie and one of the finest in the Rhône Valley. It was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal, following his departure from Vidal-Fleury, where he had worked for just under twenty years. His son, Marcel, joined the company in 1961 and is now the head of the company.
Guigal pioneered the notion of single vineyard Côte Rôties and his 3 most famous wines, La Landonne, La Mouline and La Turque are amongst the most sought after wines in the world today.
Marcel Guigal's attitude to winemaking is typical of the simple genius that one seems to stumble upon when looking at any of the world's greatest winemakers - low yields, organic viticulture and little or no intervention in the cellars - in short, a respect for nature and a passion for the wine itself.
Robert Parker commented on Marcel Guigal that "In the past 20 years I have spent visiting wineries and vignerons, I have never seen a producer so fanatical about quality as Marcel Guigal."
Until you’ve tasted Viognier grown in Condrieu, you’ve never truly experienced the grape’s majesty. In the same way that winemakers the world over have planted Pinot Noir in the hope of emulating red Burgundy, so too they’ve planted Viognier in the hope of achieving the unique balance of exotic perfume, weight and freshness for which Condrieu is famed. Few succeed. Traditionally, winemakers here have used relatively inert, large wooden vessels vinification and élevage are in relatively inert, large, wooden vessels, but the new generation of winemakers are increasingly interested in the qualities of new oak.
Plantings have expanded beyond the core of the AOC, around the village itself, to 140 hectares from the low of eight hectares in the 1960s. The vineyards pick up where Côte-Rôtie leaves off, the slope continues, but the schist of the north begins to give way to a little more granite and a topsoil of decomposed mica. Today the appellation is characterised by energy and creativity, and demand for the wines from this diminutive region is soaring.
It is a poor-yielding grape that is notoriously fickle to grow, being susceptible to a whole gamut of pests and diseases. Crucially it must be picked at optimum ripeness - if harvested too early and under-ripe the resulting wine can be thin, dilute and unbalanced, while if picked too late then the wine will lack the grape's distinctive peach and honeysuckle aroma. It is most successfully grown in the tiny appellations of Château-Grillet and Condrieu where it thrives on the distinctive arzelle granite-rich soils. It is also grown in Côte Rôtie where it lends aromatic richness to the wines when blended with Syrah.
Viognier has been on the charge in the Southern Rhône and the Languedoc throughout the 1990s and is now a key component of many white Côtes du Rhône. In Languedoc and Rousillon it is increasingly being bottled unblended and with notable success with richly fragrant wines redolent of overripe apricots and peaches and selling at a fraction of the price of their Northern Rhône cousins.