One of the powerhouses of the Rhône and a name synonymous with beautifully crafted wines from some of the regions finest vineyard sites. Etienne Guigal formed his own estate in 1946, and was joined by his son Marcel in 1961. They purchased the Château d'Ampuis in 1995, today fully restored, it is the headquarters of the estate and home to the Guigal cooperage. Marcel's son, Phillipe is the winemaker and Guigal produce a range of stunning wines from across the terroirs of the Rhône.
La Doriane is a luxury cuvée of Condrieu that the Guigals have produced since the 1994 vintage. A great success since the first vintage, the wine always seems richly oaked and very fruity when young, transforming in 3-4 years into a seamlessly complex, aromatic and vibrant wine. La Doriane contradicts the accepted wisdom that Condrieu does not age well.
Vineyards on very steep terraces -
"Côte Chatillon" CONDRIEU - Shale, limestone. 1 ha
"Colombier" ST MICHEL SUR RHÔNE - Granite, sand. 1 ha
"Volan" ST PIERRE DE BOEUF - Granite with iron oxyde. 1 ha
"Coteau de Chéry" CONDRIEU. 0,5 ha
A wine made and matured exclusively in new oak barrels for 12 months. 100% malolactic fermentation.
Brilliant clear pale golden yellow. White flowers, apricot, white peaches. Intensely powerful and elegant aromas. Freshness, round, rich and full-bodied. Fully expressive of the terroir. Great finesse and freshness.
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.
Bottled at the end of June and brought up in new barrels, the blockbuster 2017 Condrieu La Doriane is up there with the crème de la crème, and just might be the wine of the vintage in the region. Stunning notes of buttered peach, crème brûlée, white flowers, and honeysuckle all literally soar from the glass. Deep, rich, medium to full-bodied and powerful, like the base cuvée, it stays incredibly pure and elegant. Drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years. Don’t miss it.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
Slightly more forward and flamboyant than the more classically structured 2016, the 2017 Condrieu la Doriane is full-bodied, plush and opulent, loaded with flowers, melons and apricots. Yes, the oak is noticeable, but it adds a relatively restrained note of toasted almonds, serving to focus and lift the waves of succulent fruit. I'd drink this silky-textured beauty over the next few years, while it's still as showy as can be.
The concentration of fruit in this wine is always staggering. Such impressive depth and power. Deeply ripe, rich, apricot and peach aromas with a citrus, grapefruit edge and plenty of hazelnut oak. The palate is densely flavored, super-long and packed with ripe mangoes, apricots and peaches. Immaculate. Drink or hold.