2015 Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune et Blonde

Year: 2015
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 93
Jeb Dunnuck: 92
Red Wine

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DUE IN: SEPTEMBER 2019

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"Dark and winey, this is youthfully tight, with a core of intense black cherry and black currant preserve flavors, encased within layers of olive, singed alder, juniper and iron. Very focused and driven through the finish. Cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2022 through 2038. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. -J.M." (WS)

"Much more open and inviting than the Hermitage, Guigal's 2015 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde boasts hallmark aromas of dried flowers, herbs, raspberries and black olives. Medium to full-bodied, it's simultaneously rich and silky, showing fine, balanced acidity on the crisp finish. Considering it may account for as much as a third of the appellation's volume, it's a remarkable achievement and testament to the tremendous quality of the vintage. Even folks who buy and cellar the La Las will want to have some of this in their cellars for early drinking.

As my visit to Guigal came smack in the middle of harvest, I was only able to do an abbreviated tasting of about 30 wines. Tasting with the father-and-son team of Marcel and Philippe Guigal and joined by recent addition Jacques Desvernois (formerly at Jaboulet), we worked our way through all of the current releases in between sporadic loads of Côte Rôtie grapes arriving at the reception. On one occasion, while Philippe was dealing with a delivery, Marcel grabbed a pipette and we went to take an "unofficial" look at the 2015 La Las. As we only tasted from one barrel of each, I'm not updating my formal reviews from last year but will simply say that each of the barrels we tasted from were potentially perfect. When someone of Marcel's experience says 2015 is the best vintage he's ever seen in the Northern Rhône, would you expect anything different? Of the now-bottled 2014 La Las, Marcel said, "It's not a great year, but it needs time." While not up to the level of the 2015s, they're still impressive, and while they could all use a few years in the cellar, the La Mouline and La Turque are fairly approachable. Guigal's policy of giving their red wines extended élevage means they're often not yet on the market when new-vintage hype strikes. On the other hand, now that many 2015s from the Northern Rhône have already sold through, Guigal is a last chance for consumers to grab hold of some great examples at reasonable prices from Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph, and the Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde. Even the 2015 Côtes du Rhône release is a beauty. As Marcel pointed out, "For us, it's a grand vin, not a simple, fruity wine." New from the 2017 vintage is a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, while notably missing from the lineup is a Hermitage Ex Voto from 2014, as it wasn't deemed worthy and was blended into the regular Hermitage." (WA)

"The 2015 Côte Rôtie Brune Et Blonde is a step up and one of the top vintages for this cuvée which, given how good 2015 is, should surprise no one. This beauty offers deep, layered notes of blackberry and cassis fruits, ground herbs, licorice, and hints of spring flowers. It’s medium to full-bodied, has terrific mid-palate depth, and needs 2-4 years of bottle age to hit prime time.

The big news at the Guigal estate is the purchase of Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The family has always wanted an estate in the South, and Nalys is an unrealized treasure trove of awesome terroir and old vines, both of which I’ve no doubt will be maximized by this talented family. In addition, the former winemaker at Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Jacques Desvernois, has joined the team, and while it’s not clear exactly what his role will be, I suspect he will largely lead the charge at Domaine de Nalys. Either way, Desvernois is an incredible talent and can only add to what is already a well-oiled machine. As to the wines reviewed in this report, I was able to taste multiple vintages of each of the cuvées and have listed the wines by cuvée as opposed to by vintage, which is how we tasted through the wines." (JD)