AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 42
Name of wine estate: E.Guigal
Wine region: Northern Rhône
Standout points: Some of the finest old world Syrahs from the home of old world Syrahs
Winemaker: Philippe Guigal
Wine style: Organic, low-intervention, old world classics
A 2,400-year relationship
For 24 centuries, the steep ‘roasted’ slopes of Côte-Rôtie on the bank of the Rhône have been dedicated to Syrah. Guigal is the pre-eminent producer in this revered appellation and is synonymous with its history and dedication to winemaking. To Syrah lovers, this has to be considered a bucket-list destination.
Guigal’s winery is located in Ampuis, an ancient village at the heart of the Côte-Rôtie appellation. Although the domain has holdings in numerous exceptional appellations from Hermitage, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and, most recently, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cote-Rotie is at its heart. The so-called ‘La-La’ single vineyards (a concept which Guigal pioneered in the Northern Rhône) – La Mouline, La Turque and La Ladonne, from which Guigal makes its top wines – represent to many the pinnacle of artistry in the medium of Syrah.
A worthy obsession
Following closely in the footsteps of founder Etienne Guigal, who vinified 67 vintages under the family name, Marcel Guigal and his son, and current oenologist, Philippe are dedicated to making the finest wines of the Rhône valley. Theirs is a quality-obsession few can match and is aimed at achieving the most profound expressions of the best Rhône appellations.
Striding along the long tunnel of the Guigal family’s labyrinthine cellars allows the visitor to travel back in time (one’s imaginative faculty hopefully stirred by a tasting of the estate’s enchanting wines). Stravague through the tunnels past Roman remains, vine grower’s tools, sculpted barrels, antique steles and mosaics. A visit to the Guigal-owned 18th-century Château d’Ampuis, fronted by its manicured gardens on the Rhône’s left bank, is a must. Its annex houses the cooperage where barrels destined to age the great wines of the domain are made. One final handy tip: Guigal is currently working on a new, all-singing and-dancing cellar door and museum which is scheduled to open autumn 2019.