Dark ruby red in colour. Spices, red berries and delicate oak aromas. Round soft tannins. Aromas of raspberry, blackberry and vanilla. Balance between scarcely perceptible acidity and tannins which add ageing potential and softened by long ageing in oak.
The impact and influence of the Guigal family across the Rhône Valley, France, and all the world of fine wine is so immense, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that it’s all happened so quickly. In a country with such a rich and deep wine history, the Guigal family’s story is only in its third generation. The remarkable story begins with Etienne Guigal, a remarkably independent and both intellectually and physically capable man. He was the youngest child 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, half an hour south of the city of Lyon and the home of Cote-Rotie, to pick apricots. In the early 1930s his brother helped Etienne, still only 14 years of age, secure a job in the vineyards at the largest winery in the Rhône. Etienne started pruning in the vineyards and rose to cellar master over the course of 15 years, before eventually leaving just after the war 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 Rhône Valley. In the process Marcel brought attention to Côte-Rôtie and other appellations throughout the Rhône 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. The Guigal firm is extraordinary in a number of dimensions. Primary amongst them is 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 Rhône. 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 collection of vineyards in the Northern Rhône, and serve as the source for their estate-bottled wines and the foundation for their Northern Rhône appellation wines. The more you learn about the Guigal family, the more astounding becomes their story. Their wines are the benchmarks for every Rhône 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.
Especially for the vintage, this is chock-full of lightly mulled plum, black currant and raspberry fruit laced liberally with singed alder and juniper threads. Lots of smoldering tobacco and dark tea notes through the finish, with a sanguine element as well. Best from 2019 through 2028. 600 cases imported.
JOSH RAYNOLDS - VINOUS
Bright violet. Powerful dark fruit, violet pastille, olive and candied licorice aromas are lifted and sharpened by peppery spice and smoky mineral notes. Coats the palate with nicely concentrated, smoke-tinged boysenberry, cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors that become livelier with air. Shows impressive clarity and seamless texture and finishes very long and sappy; chewy tannins build slowly and fold into the sweet dark fruit.
Super peppery, dried red plums are bathed in fine-ground dark spices and toasty, cedary woody aromas. The palate brings very plush, even and supple tannins that carry fresh, ripe raspberry and red plum flavors in a laid-back, attractive style. Drink now.
JEB DUNNUCK - WINE ADVOCATE
Given the more difficult vintage, I was surprised by the quality of the 2013 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde. Classic and old school, with crunchy dark fruits, leather and pepper, it’s medium-bodied, focused and has striking purity of fruit. It has a ways to go before being bottled, but I suspect short-term cellaring will be beneficial. It's impressive.
JEB DUNNUCK - WINE ADVOCATE
The inky colored 2013 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde continues to shows plenty of potential, although its firm, angular style is very different from both the 2011 and 2012. White pepper, blackberries, cedar, graphite and crunchy black fruits all flow to a medium-bodied, focused Cote Rotie that has striking purity, ripe, yet firm tannin and plenty of length. It should certainly be an outstanding wine but is a longer term prospect.
JEB DUNNUCK - WINE ADVOCATE
Already bottled and just about on the market, the 2013 Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde possesses a medium-bodied, fresh, focused style to go with notable concentration, high, yet integrated acidity and classy notes of white pepper, charred meats, damp earth and darker berry fruits. Give it a few years and drink through 2025.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
The 2013 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde is herbal, peppery and meaty. This was a difficult vintage according to Philippe Guigal, who says “time helps. The wines were really tough at the beginning.” It’s medium-bodied and wiry in build, with savory flavors and an astringent finish.