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"Much more ripe, textured and decadent, the 2003 Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde is loaded with notions of cassis, plum sauce, licorice and exotic, gamy qualities that flow nicely to a full-bodied, concentrated wine that has sweet tannin, excellent mid-palate depth and a terrific finish. Drinking at maturity, it should nevertheless continue to evolve gracefully through 2023.
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) Côte Rôties 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 Côte Rôties, starting with the classic Brune et Blonde, then the Château d'Ampuis, and finishing with their single-vineyard La Mouline. Looking first at their Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices release, it comes from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched 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 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." Jeb Dunnuck, eRobertParker.com #214
Drink from: 2014-2023
"Still tight, but this has a solid core of muscular fig paste, currant, tobacco, black olive and iron notes, followed by a long, well-structured finish. Shows the heat of the vintage, but isn't roasted. Best from 2008 through 2015. 12,000 cases made." Wine Spectator
Drink from: 2008-2015
"Deep, inky ruby. Powerful, superripe aromas of kirsch, blackcurrant and chocolate, complemented by exotic spices and licorice. Rich, creamy and dense, with sweet red and dark fruit flavors framed by chewy tannins. The sweetness builds on the finish, which features a late-arriving note of floral pastille." Josh Raynolds, Vinous.com
"Very dark. Heady and concentrated. Really rich - almost gamey. Nothing whatsoever to do with the elegant side of Côte-Rôtie but then it's 2003...Lots of bang for the not inconsiderable buck. I think I would choose something more typically Côte Rôtie myself, but this is Guigal's full-on style accentuated by the heat-wave vintage." JancisRobinson.com
Drink from: 2008-2013