E. Guigal

The story of the Guigal family is a young but remarkable one. Etienne Guigal was the youngest in his family, but as the most resilient he was sent off on his own at a very young age when his family could no longer afford to care for him. He came to Ampuis to pick apricots, labor he found preferable to his previous work underground in mines. In the early 1930s his brother helped Etienne, still only 14 years of age, secure a job in the vineyards at Vidal Fleury, then the largest and strongest winery in the Rhone. Etienne started pruning in the vineyards and rose to Maitre de Chai over the course of 15 years, before eventually leaving in 1946 to start his own firm, E. Guigal. Etienne's son Marcel became involved very early in the business when in 1961 he was forced to rush back from school because his father was suddenly struck with total blindness. Marcel has led the firm since, and his unparalleled work ethic and dedication to quality have lifted the Guigal wines to the pinnacle of the wine world, and the Guigal domaine to its status as the leading winery from the Rhone Valley. In the process Marcel brought attention to Côte-Rôtie and other appellations throughout the Rhone that were in danger of being lost in the annals of wine history, despite the region's distinguished past of 2,500 years as a superior wine-producing area, and the cradle of wine civilization in France. Today, Marcel's son Philippe serves as Director and Oenologist at Guigal, and with his father is carrying on the tradition of leadership in the Rhone Valley and uncompromising excellence.

The Guigal firm is extraordinary in a number of dimensions. First is their decision that they will only purchase vineyards that are capable of producing truly great wines. Therefore despite their important production, they own only 150 acres, all in the Northern Rhone. They own overwhelmingly the finest collection of vineyards in Côte-Rôtie, the finest, carefully selected sites in both Condrieu and Saint Joseph, four exquisite parcels in Hermitage, and some of the finest vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage. These 150 acres are truly the finest sites in the Northern Rhone, and serve as the source for their estate-bottled wines and the foundation for their Northern Rhone appellation wines.

A second important dimension is Guigal's approach to viticulture. The Guigal family is tireless in its work on the steeply sloped, terraced vineyards it owns, with views entirely to the long-term. They are methodically re-building vineyards today that won't be planted for another five to ten years because of their belief in the soils, expositions and mesoclimates of these sites. Their philosophy in the vineyard is to prune low and strictly limit the number of shoots per vine, training for low vigor and low-yields and looking for natural balance and concentration in this manner. No pesticides, herbicides or chemicals are used in the vineyards, and the fact some of Guigal vines date back to the 1890s is a testimony to the nurturing, obsessive approach the Guigals have in their vineyards.

Thirdly, Guigal is a unique negociant company. The family knows the Northern Rhone like no one else, and supplements their holdings by buying grapes from long-time grower partners. In total, they vinify around 33% of Côte-Rôtie and 45% of Condrieu, and have access to top fruit in all the regions they work. In the Southern Rhone, they buy only wine, and with a distinctive approach. Namely, they do not have a single contract. Marcel and Philippe taste relentlessly and start from scratch every year. In a given year, they will purchase the top 1% of the wines they taste, and because of their longtime contacts, they have access to the best wines in the region; they select, in other words, 1% from the very finest wines in the Southern Rhone. Also important to note, they decide very early on what wine they will purchase, sometimes before malolactic fermentation is even finished, and they will not purchase later to meet demand. From their experience, access, and early work, they give themselves the opportunity to find the best possible wines, and if they find a great wine they buy it, regardless of vintage or price considerations. The Guigal's work ethic in finding the best fruit and wines in the Rhone Valley can be summarized by the motto on the Chateau d'Ampuis: "Nul bien sans la peine" – no good without pain.

Fourthly, Guigal's vinfication is singular in the world of wine, and allows their great raw materials to flourish in the bottle. Their vinification approach actually harkens back to tradition in the Rhone Valley, with long ageing, which integrates tannins and flavors and creates wines of great complexity and refinement. Because of their superior fruit, the Guigals do not make "simple" wines – these wines demand time to come together. All wines undergo natural yeast fermentations, and intervention is at a bare minimum, with no fining or filtration. The top Guigal wines undergo famously long maturation period in barrel, up to three and a half years, but even parcels of old-vine Syrah for their Côtes du Rhône are aged in foudres for six months, completely atypical for the Côtes du Rhône category. The Guigals are so exacting about the ageing process that, finding inconsistent barrels from even the best tonnelleries, they make every barrel that is used in their winery, with five barrels produced by hand every day by their single cooper at the Chateau d'Ampuis; they are the only winery in the Rhone Valley with their own cooperage. These barrels are destined for their Northern Rhone wines, while they use foudres built to exacting specifications for their Southern Rhone wines. The reality is that it is enormously expensive to hold onto 3 or 4 vintages of Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Côte-Rôtie, or even to hold onto Côtes du Rhône that is two or three vintages behind what other producers are releasing, but it is done for the quality of the wine, and so that consumers can enjoy the wines for drinking upon release.

The more you learn about the Guigal family, the more astounding becomes their story. Their wines are the benchmarks for every Rhone appellation, and over the last thirty years they have become arguably the most lauded producer in the world. Year after year the Guigal family produces wines of exceptional quality that in all classes offer exceptional value.

"The Guigal family may be the modern world's greatest testament to a family-run winery with impeccably high standards, integrity and an uncompromising vision of the future." Wine Advocate

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E. Guigal Gigondas 2015
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 91 The 2015 Gigondas is remarkable for its elegance. Sourced largely from higher-altitude vineyards, it's evolved in a red-fruited direction, offering cranberry and cherry notes accented by hints of clove and allspice. Medium to full-bodied, with a creamy mid-palate and silky tannins
Item Number: 32525
Case: $347.40

E. Guigal 'Blanc' Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2017
89  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 89 The 2017 Cotes du Rhone Blanc includes a majority of Viognier (as usual), supported by 15% to 20% Roussanne and bit of other Rhône varieties. It's a bold mouthful of apricot, pineapple and citrus, with a slightly floral nose. Medium to full-bodied, it's plump and round in the
Item Number: 32524
Case: $155.40

E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2014
90  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 90 Guigal's 2014 Chateauneuf du Pape perfectly captures the vintage's less concentrated character, showing off attractive aromas of strawberries, subtle dried spices and something resembling birch bark. It's medium to full-bodied, a bit lighter in weight and color than normal, but
Item Number: 31469

E. Guigal Condrieu 2016
90  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 90 Guigal now bottles approximately 40% of the appellation's total production, so it's fortunate that the 2016 Condrieu is a fine ambassador for the region. One-third of this bottling sees new oak, while the rest goes into stainless steel. Some may quibble with the oak in an
Item Number: 31240
Case: $635.40
Allow 2-4 days shipping/pickup

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2015
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 89-91 The 2015 Cotes du Rhone marks a terrific return to form for this cuvée. It’s intense and peppery, with concentrated black cherry fruit, a medium to full-bodied palate and a long finish.  Vinous Media 90 Brilliant ruby. Vibrant cherry and cassis aromas are complicated by
Item Number: 29688
Case: $155.40

E. Guigal 'Rose' Cotes du Rhone 2017
90  Vinous Media 
Vinous Media 90 Pale pink. Highly perfumed strawberry and candied rose scents, joined by a slowly building hint of orange zest. Dry and brisk on the palate, offering bitter cherry pit and red berry flavors and a spicy touch of white pepper. Finishes clean and long, displaying resonating florality
Item Number: 29686
Case: $155.40

E. Guigal 'La Turque' Cote Rotie Cote Brune 2004
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94"Still tight, but with an ample core of hoisin sauce, licorice, black currant preserve and espresso, backed by a dark plum-, cocoa- and iron-filled finish. There's great length and lovely texture through the finish. Drink now through 2023. 350 cases made."
Item Number: 6206

E. Guigal 'La Landonne' Cote Rotie 2004
95  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 95"A gorgeous nose of crushed plum and Turkish coffee gives way to a plushly textured palate of warm fig, mocha, fruitcake and mesquite. Still a touch taut, but pure on the finish, with fine-grained tannins and a mouthwatering minerality. Drink now through 2023. 800 cases made."
Item Number: 6204

E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2015
92  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 92 Consumers who want a bit more oomph than the 2014 offers will want to seek out Guigal's 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape, which is a ripe, full-bodied example of the appellation. Bottled just a week before I tasted it, it was somewhat closed on the nose but is wonderfully velvety and rich,

E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2013
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 91 The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape is the current release, having spent three years in foudres prior to bottling. It’s ready to drink, yet it still has some tannin to offer and marries that structure to notes of cherries, leather and licorice on the supple finish.  by Robert Parker,

E. Guigal St. Joseph Vignes de L'Hospice Rouge 2015
97  Jeb Dunnuck 
Wine Spectator 96 "This ripples with stunning raspberry and boysenberry coulis flavors, inlaid liberally with anise and apple wood notes and carrying through a well-defined finish. Lush in feel overall, with a mocha note draped over everything, keeping terrific energy in reserve. Best from 2020

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2014
Tasting notes Eye : Deep and dark red. Shiny. Nose : Fresh fruits with red berries and spices. Palate : Full, round and racy. Rounded and smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine. Overall : Full with a long finish and plenty of elegance and finesse due to the well balanced

E. Guigal Gigondas 2014
90  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 90 The supple, approachable 2014 Gigondas was aged entirely in foudres prior to bottling. It features attractive notes of cherries, stone fruits and Provence herbs. Guigal uses 25% to 30% Mourvèdre in the firm’s Gigondas, which is high for the appellation.  Tasting notes Color:

E. Guigal 'Blanc' Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2016
Soil type: Varied soil, sediment, limestone, granite. Grape variety: 65% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 8% Marsanne, 8 % Clairette, 2% Bourboulenc, 2% white Grenache. Average age of vines: 25 years. Winemaking: Low temperatures, temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation. Ageing: Stainless steel

E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2012
93  Robert Parker 
Robert Parker 93+"I loved the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape. This big, downright sexy red offers loads of kirsch, blackberries, dried flowers and hints of licorice in a full-bodied, sweetly fruit, layered style. It has terrific purity and ripe, sweet tannin."

E. Guigal Condrieu 2015
95  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 95 "Guigal's 2015 Condrieu is a blockbuster that, if not for its big brother, would be one of the wines of the vintage. Aged in one-third new barrels and two-thirds in tank, it’s a rich, unctuous, thrillingly textured beauty that has plenty of orange blossom, flower oil, tangerine and

E. Guigal Gigondas 2013
93  Wine & Spirits 
Wine & Spirits 93 “Classic, old-school Gigondas, this gives a clear feel for the stony slopes of the ap- pellation, where rugged peaks of Mount Ventoux loom over the vineyard. There’s no apparent oak to muss up the expression; it’s just dark, roasted-plum fruit lined with spice and herbs, the

E. Guigal 'Rose' Cotes du Rhone 2016
"Guigal has a specific philosophy with rose, one that results every year in one of the best-selling quality roses in the country. They want freshness, full flavor, texture and structure, and produce a rose absolutely bursting with red fruits and spices on the nose and palate. The key to the Guigal

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 89-91 "The 2013 Cotes du Rhone, which is scheduled to be bottled in November, is a bigger, richer wine than I remember and has tons of ripe Syrah characteristics. Black olives, smoked earth, pepper and plenty of dark fruit all emerge from this inky-colored, straight-up impressive

E. Guigal 'Chat d'Ampuis' Cote Rotie 2011
94  Wine Spectator 
Robert Parker 93 "The 2011 Cote Rotie Chateau d'Ampuis has closed down slightly since last year, yet still offers a terrific perfume of cured meats, vanilla bean, sweet black currants and graphite to go with medium to full-bodied, ripe, sexy style on the palate. I doubt it will truly close down and

E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2011
92  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 89-92 Not yet bottled, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape (80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and the rest Mourvedre and other permitted varieties) is a great example of the vintage and has an upfront, perfumed, sexy style. Garrigue, incense, kirsch, lavender and black raspberry qualities flow nicely

E. Guigal 'Blanc' Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2015
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 91 Another terrific white is the 2015 Cotes du Rhone Blanc, a cuvee that continues to over-deliver in just about every vintage. Tasting like a top-flight Condrieu with its tangerine, honey and floral aromas and flavors, it's pure, elegant and impeccably balanced on the palate. 

E. Guigal Gigondas 2012
92  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 89-92 Still not yet bottled, the 2012 Gigondas showed considerably better this go around and I'm confident it will end up being an outstanding wine. Made from 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvèdre, it offers impressive ripeness in its smoked herbs, garrigue, olive and pepper-laced Grenache

E. Guigal 'Rose' Cotes du Rhone 2015
90  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 90 One of the finest roses from this team yet, the 2015 Cotes du Rhone Rose from Guigal (60% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 10% Syrah) is a downright classy beauty that gives up lots of white cherry, currants and floral notes in a medium-bodied, ultra pure and seamless style. It will keep

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2012
90  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 90 A wine that should be on the market by the time you read this, the 2012 Cotes du Rhone from Guigal is a smokin' value that offers classic southern Rhone notes of peppery herbs, smoked earth and almost chocolatey dark fruits. Medium plus-bodied, concentrated, with both fine tannin