E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010

Dark, inky red color; dark fruit and spice on the nose; dark plum, dark cherry, raspberry, black olive, brambly wood on the palate.

This is GSM effort drawn from the entire Rhône area; 49% syrah, 48% grenache, 3% mourvedre. It has rich depth, distinctive flavors reminiscent of Chânteneuf-du-Pape, significant oak on the finish without losing its balance. Tannin is smooth but assertive and thus benefits from some air.

E. Guigal was founded by Etienne Guigal in Ampuis, a small village in the heart of the Côte-Rôtie appellation in the northern Rhône, a place where wine grapes have been grown for 2,400 years. Etienne’s son, Marcel, took over management of the operation in 1961 when Etienne suddenly was struck with total blindness. Marcel’s wife, Bernadette joined the team in 1973, and today their son, Phillipe, is the winemaker working alongside his wife, Eve. In 1995, E. Guigal acquired the famed Château d’Ampuis, a landmark in the Côte-Rôtie; it houses the business offices today while wine making and cellaring remain in the village of Ampuis.

E. Guigal is one of the most consistent makers in the Rhône region, notable for paying top prices for Côtes du Rhône grapes. E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2010 is their entry-level effort, but it drinks like bottles costing twice as much. This is no coy, soft, inoffensive easy drinker. Expect a dark, assertive wine with acidity, tannin, rich fruit flavors, layers of depth. $14-19

E. Guigal website

Other photos: Marcel and Phillippe Guigal; Bernadette and Eve Guigal; Château d’Ampuis—E. Guigal headquarters

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010
Marcel and Phillippe Guigal
Bernadette and Eve Guigal
Château d’Ampuis—E. Guigal headquarters