The Guigal domain was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in the ancient village of Ampuis, home of the wines of the Côte-Rôtie. In these vineyards that are over 2400 years old, you can still see the small terraced walls characteristic of the Roman period. Etienne Guigal arrived in this region in 1923 at the age of 14. He made wine for over 67 vintages and, at the beginning of his career, participated in the development of the Vidal-Fleury establishment.
Despite his young age, Marcel Guigal took over from his father in 1961 when the latter was victim to a brutal illness rendering him blind. Marcel's hard work and perseverance enabled the Guigals to buy out Vidal-Fleury in 1984, although the establishment retains its own identity and commercial autonomy. In 2000, the Guigals purchased the Jean-Louis Grippat estate in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage, as well as the Domaine de Vallouit in Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.
In the cellars of the Guigal estate in Ampuis, the northern appellations of the Rhône Valley are produced and aged. These are the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The great appellations of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône, are also aged in the Ampuis cellars.
Learn More About Rhone White Blends
White Rhone blends consist of two or more white grapes from its namesake region. This includes Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. Other white grapes may be included in miniscule amounts, but the above four are the principles. In the Rhone, Viognier is typically alone in the Northern Rhone and absent in the Southern Rhone, although, in the north, 20% of the variety can be blended into the predominant Syrah of Cote Rotie. Marsanne and Roussanne are two peas in pod - usually found together both in and outside of the Rhone region. Blends outside of the Rhone are mostly found in California and Australia and can include all of the four primary varieties together.
Notable Facts The whites blends of the Rhone are usually rich in fruit flavors and aromatics. Three of the primary grapes, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne are intense on aromatics & texture. The fourth primary grape used in the blend is Grenache Blanc, a fairly neutral grape with crisp acid & high sugars. Blending Grenache Blanc with the above three varieties helps the wine stand up in acid levels and ads a crispness to the texture. Flavors of white Rhone blends include spice, nut, honeysuckle and green apple.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Rhone, California, Australia, South Africa
Common Descriptors: honeysuckle, green apple, peach, nut, spice
Learn More About Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
A Cote of Many Grapes
The appellation of Côtes du Rhône encompasses much of the land of the area, not to mention much of the wine – over two-thirds of the wine produced here is of the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. Wines here need only be from the Côtes de Rhône geographic area (which is fairly large) and consist of one or more of the 22 varieties permitted. Being such a wide classification, it's a surprise and joy that so many of these wines reach such a high quality. While there are areas in the Northern Rhône that meet the classification of Côtes du Rhône, most all of this appellation is in the Southern Rhône. Wines here are based mostly on Grenache, like other Rhône reds, while the whites focus on Marsanne and Roussanne. Viognier is also allowed although typically used in smaller quantities.
There is one higher level in the Côtes du Rhône called Côtes du Rhône Villages. These wines are from specific village areas that have a few more standards the wine must reach to receive the village label. Some to take note of are Cairanne, Rasteau, Seguret and Beaumes-de-Venise. The good thing about both Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages is that big producers of the smaller appellations are taking the opportunity and freedom offered by this broad appellation and creating wines of very high quality, and lower in price.