2010 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The Domaine E. Guigal is primarily a producer of wines from the Northern Rhone where the winery is located (in Ampuis).
But they do also produce a few Southern Rhone such as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape we’ve tasted here, as well as a Gigondas, and a Tavel.
The grapes for this wine came from low-yielding vines: 70 % Old Grenache, 15 % Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% of other local grape varieties.
After fermentation, the wine was aged for 2 years in oak foudres (large wooden vats).
About 200,000 bottles were produced.
But how good is this 2010 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
The nose is intense, and mainly spicy and oaky at first: plenty of lifted pepperiness, but also clove and nutmeg. The oaky notes come through principally as a touch of smoke, vanilla, and wood ashes.
It’s pungent, deep and intriguing: much lifted by all that spiciness, brought down to Earth with oak, fruit and indeed a definite underlying earthiness.
The relatively shy fruit only starts to appear to the nose as you agitate the glass: notes of prune, and dark cherry liqueur. It completes elegantly the wine’s very complex and layered aroma profile.
It’s quite meaty too! Like juicy roasted meat, and a touch of leather.
What first strikes on the palate is the elegance of the wine.
I was expecting sheer power, warmth and intensity after analyzing the nose. Some precise fresh fruit flavors, and limpid acidity first hit my taste buds instead.
While the nose seemed exuberant, layered and extrovert, the word that best describes the palate is precise.
Impeccable balance between a delicate yet present acidity, very smooth tannins that are quite dense, just a touch of perceived sweetness, and a slight subtle warmth from plenty of ripe berry fruit flavors.
Indeed, as much as the fruit was shy on the nose, it is dominant on the palate making for a fresh, characterful, and enjoyable sip. The spicy characters are around this fruitiness, harmoniously giving it depth and complexity.
Oaky tones of vanilla and burnt wood dominate the finish and provide a savory feel. Just what you need to make you want to get back to the wine for another sip.
A powerful, juicy, meaty and intensely layered Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a striking precision both in its fruity expression and its balance bull of elegance of accurate acidity. The finish is exceptionally long and complex.
When to drink?
I’m tempted to say this is to be drunk now and within the next 2/3 years. The wine is very good now and this naturally seems to be the perfect moment to enjoy this wine, while it is still filled with fruity goodness as well as the spiciness and earthiness it’s already developed.
Beyond this point, the slightly drying finish, ashy, and leathery characters could start being a little too dominant. But that remains to be seen. The wine’s acidity, quite dense tannic structure and balance may as well allow to it age longer and more beautifully that I can foresee.
Stock up a few bottles, try for yourself, and let me know how it goes 😉