E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône White 2014

Light gold color; white flowers, honeysuckle, stone fruit on the seductive nose; lime, lemon, apricot, peach on the palate.

Rich, elegant, fresh, bright, smooth, creamy, light-medium body, some complexity; 65% viognier, 15% roussanne, 10% marsanne, 8% clairette, 2% bourboulenc. E. Guigal may be the world’s best viognier maker, deftly allowing the grape’s freshness and deep aromatics to pleasure nose and palate. E. Guigal also goes against the trends in the northern Rhône where only 2% of the wine is white; E. Guigal’s production is 25% white. And that is not because they are slouches at red and rosé—they are very skilled at those wines, too. For quality, value, and price, E. Guigal is a consistent champion regardless of the wine’s color.

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 Côtes du Rhône White 2014 is superb and sophisticated, a comfortable and delicious alternative to your daily diet of chard or sauv blanc or pinot gris/grigio. $14-19

E. Guigal website

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