2015 Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 1.5 L

Year: 2015
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 89
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 91
James Suckling: 91
Jeb Dunnuck: 89+--Wine Enthusiast: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
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"Direct, with a beam of bitter cherry, plum and singed anise notes. Light black tea and iron accents underscore the finish. Drink now through 2020. 37,500 cases made. -JM" (WS)

"As we tasted the 2015 Crozes Hermitage, Philippe Guigal said, "It's rare we get full phenolic ripeness in Crozes. We got that in 2015." The wine's silky tannins certainly support his claim. It's medium to full-bodied, with raspberry, cherry and black olive aromas and flavors that scream of the variety, and it has a long finish. It's an outstanding value and a wine that may be happily consumed anytime from now through 2025.

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)

"Bright violet. Spicy black and blue fruits, pungent flowers and a hint of smoked meat on the perfumed nose. Juicy and broad in the mouth, offering concentrated boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that become spicier as the wine opens up. The dark berry note lingers on the persistent finish, which is given shape by smooth, harmonious tannins." (VM)

"Plenty of crushed flowers, as well as grilled meat and a wealth of ripe, red fruit. The palate is quite firm with abundant tannins and mixed-berry flavors. Drink in 2022." (JS)

"Moving to the Crozes Hermitage releases, the 2015 Crozes Hermitage is more fresh and elegant than most, with a certain compactness as well as perfumed notes of black raspberries, pepper, violets, and earth. Give bottles a year or so and it should drink nicely for 8-10 years. I’d have liked to see a touch more volume and sexiness from this wine given the vintage.

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)

"The nose is subtle on this elegant Syrah but the palate opens gradually to introduce layer upon layer of silky, sun-kissed blackberry and plum flavors. It's ripe but restrained, muted by a granitic mineral tone and crisp red-currant acidity. The long finish lingers on fine, framing tannins. Ready now it should improve through 2025, hold further." (WE)