Was lucky enough to get an invite to a tasting during the week of esteemed French winery ‘Guigal‘. For those who aren’t familiar, these guys are based in the Northern Rhone valley (Ampuis to be precise), the area which is home to Shiraz. As such, many Australian wines owe quite a lot to these guys and their French brethren.
Their wines are pretty awesome value right from their $25/bottle ‘Cotes Du Rhone’ Grenache/Shiraz blend right up to the three ‘La La’ wines, some of the most sought after in the world (about $600+ per bottle, when you can find one).
Understandably, mere mortals don’t often get the chance to see the full range very often but on Wednesday last week they had the whole lot open at ‘The Smith‘ in Prahran (great place BTW). Afternoon shiraz and antipasto plates? yes please!
Before I give the highlights, some notes on French naming conventions. All these wines are named firstly with the ‘village’ in which they are grown, and then sometimes also with the vineyard, y’know, if it’s a good one. There are various incarnations of this naming technique throughout france and once you work out that all the names are just places, the whole thing gets a whole lot easier.
Their entry level Cotes du Rhone Blanc (Marsanne, Rousanne & Viognier, ~$25) was a highlight as always, and in the reds I was particularly impressed with the 07 Crozes Hermitage (Shiraz, ~$40) and 09 St Joseph “Lieu Dit” Rouge (single vineyard shiraz, ~$80
Their top level stuff is pretty awesome, but then again many of the bottles are well north of $150 each so I’m not going to tell you anything revolutionary by saying it’s good…
But for the nerds… here are my abridged thoughts on the ‘La La’ wines, don’t read on if wanky wine notes aren’t your thing:
06 Cote Rotie ‘La Landonne’ – A monster. Some funk on the nose, then piercing herby fruit, brown spice and a chewy palate
06 Cote Rotie ‘La Turque’ – My favourite. Elegant and dusty, floral. Structured, balanced palate that draws on layers of roasted spices and rich berry flavours
06 Cote Rotie ‘La Mouline’ – Another monstrous wine. Rich, black fruits and briary spice. Palate is tar & leather with some superb tannin and plummy fruits.
Oh yeah, and after an afternoon like that, the only solution was home made pizzas for dinner!
Until next time,