1998 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline

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1998-guigal-cote-rotie-la-mouline
 

Wine Critic Reviews for 1998 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline

The awesome 1998 Cote Rotie La Mouline is a seamless, full-bodied classic with many characteristics of the 1997 La Landonne , but more structure, tannin, and muscle. It will need two years of cellaring, and will last for twenty years. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of the 1988.

These tasting notes will not surprise any longtime readers. I have never made a secret of the fact that if I had only one wine left to drink, I would want it to be one of the great vintages of Guigal's Cote Rotie La Mouline. This wine's aromatic fireworks, sumptuous texture, and seamless personality represent perfection. While the percentage of Viognier blended with Syrah can vary from 8-12% (even higher in a vintage such as 1996), this remains one of the world's most intensely perfumed and compelling wines.

Every vintage has its share of bacon fat, toast, cassis, acacia flower, black raspberry, creme de cassis, and tapenade notes. A voluptuous texture, sweet tannin, and a satiny smooth demeanor are hallmarks of La Mouline, whether it's a difficult (1974) or great vintage (1999). As it ages, aromas of violets and peaches also emerge. All of the "La La" offerings (as Guigal's fans call them) are aged 42 months in 100% new Francois Freres barrels, experience minimal racking as well as sulphur, and are bottled with neither fining nor filtration. While critics call them branded wines, they always emerge from the same vineyard parcels. In response to the criticism that they are oaky, virtually no new wood can be detected in the wines after 6-8 years of cellaring.

Robert Parker | 97 RP
Even though the 42 months this wine has spent in new wood give it an intensely toasty character, the enormously soft, perfumed fruits and ripe, sweet flavors that go along with the wood produce a finely tuned, balanced wine that should age well over many years. As an expression of pure Syrah, there are few better.

Wine Enthusiast | 96 WE
Saturated ruby-red. Sappy raspberry, redcurrant, plum and spices on the nose, lifted by an exotic floral/apricotty viognier note and complicated by woodsmoke, pepper and mint. Penetrating and very tightly wound, with brisk acidity giving this extremely young wine almost painful intensity. A saline, sappy quality and a hint of green pepper underscore the extreme youth of this highly promising wine. This certainly calls for at least a decade of additional aging.

Vinous Media | 95+ VM
Lovely, delicate, elegant Côte-Rôtie. Incredibly expressive, with the floral, cassis, black currant aromas jumping out of the glass. Medium-bodied, supple and caressing, this charmer is worth hunting down, especially for that iron and mineral [i]terroir[n] character. Drink now through 2010. 415 cases made, 75 cases imported.

Wine Spectator | 92 WS

Wine Details on 1998 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline

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Producer E. Guigal: With perhaps more 100 point professional ratings than any other producer in the world of wine, the impact and influence of the Guigal family across the Rhone Valley is incredulous. The offerings from this superb producer are so impressive that it is never a surprise when a new vintage is released and receives high ratings, high praise and along with it a high level of pursuit by collectors and enthusiasts. His wines have become the benchmarks for the Rhone appellation and over the past thirty years Guigal has become arguably the most lauded producer in the world. Year after year wines of exceptional quality come to fruition through unparalleled work ethic and dedication to excellence that has allowed Guigal wines to rise to the pinnacle of the wine world.

This amazing story begins in the early 1930’s when Etienne Guigal moved to Ampuis and secured a job in the vineyards of the largest winery in the Rhone. Over the course of 15 years he elevated his position from pruning vines to cellar master. In 1946 he left to start his own firm, E. Guigal; the inception of what would become one of the most influential and successful firms in the world.

In 1961 Etienne was struck with total blindness and his son Marcel returned home to help oversee operations of the family business. Marcel has led the firm ever since and his tremendous work ethic and dedication to quality have lifted the Guigal wines to the status that they remain today. Marcel’s efforts were highly recognized and lauded, bringing attention to Cote-Rotie and other appellations throughout the Rhone.

Today, Marcel’s son Philippe serves as Director and Oenologist at Guigal and with his father, carries on the tradition of leadership in the Rhone Valley and of uncompromising excellence. The family has purchased only the vineyards that are capable of producing truly great wines. They own 150 acres in Northern Rhone, and overwhelmingly the finest collection of vineyards in Cote-Rotie. The carefully selected sites serve as the source for their estate-bottled wines and the foundation for their wine portfolio. The parcels include in addition to Cote-Rotie; Condrieu, Saint Joseph, four plots in Hermitage and some of the finest in Crozes-Hermitage.

The Guigal family is undeterred by the task it must perform on the steeply sloped, terraced vineyards and work tirelessly to tend to their precious vines that have long been vital to the success of the estate. They hold a firm belief in the soils, expositions and meso-climates of each site and methodically re-build vineyards today that won’t be planted for years to come due to their commitment to the long-term success of Guigal wines.

Guigal produces a slew of wines from many different Rhone varietals including Syrah and Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. Cote-Rotie, Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage all hail from Northern Rhone. They have expanded their reach to Southern Rhone and have developed a list of Chateauneuf-Du-Papes and Cotes-Du-Rhone complimenting the Guigal portfolio.

Every wine serves as a testament to the diligent winemaking skills of the family, but three mythical wines have risen to a standard that is surpassed by no other – The “La La’s” as they are so fondly recognized. Guigal’s single vineyard Syrah of La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne have gained traction on the wine market for their quality, prestige and constant 100-point ratings. They have risen to elite status and are highly coveted by many. La Mouline and La Turque enjoy the title of Monopole, while La Landonne is merely a single vineyard and though it is a small plot is shared with a neighboring producer. Only 4,000 bottles of La Turque are bottled annually, so that gives an idea of the exclusivity of these exquisite and important components to the range of wines Guigal has to offer.

Guigal wines are sexy, exotic and demand the attention of serious wine collectors. It would be difficult to define the quality and characteristics of each Guigal wine; however, they come with a guarantee to please, with a taste for any palate. This firm has risen to fame in a relatively short period of time, but over the span of three generations, nothing short of brilliance is exemplified in each bottling.
Region Rhone: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds

As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
Subregion Northern Rhone
Appellation Cote Rotie
Climat/Vineyard La Mouline
Cru Premier Cru
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Cote Rotie: The Cote-Rotie will have you feeling a distinct blend of smoked meat flavors and floral notes that bring it all to life, like a colorful salad in a feast. Expect to be greeted by subtle yet delicious hints of leather, plum, white pepper or black pepper as well, depending on the individual bottle.
Varietal Shiraz/Syrah: Something magical occurred when two ancient French grapes procreated and the varietal of Syrah entered the world of winegrowing. The exact time period of its inception is still undetermined; however, the origin of Syrah’s parentage confirms it was birthed in the Rhone Valley. DNA testing performed by UC Davis has indicated that Syrah is the progeny of the varietals Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, both of Rhone origin. Syrah dominates its native homeland of Northern Rhone and has become one of the most popular grape varietals in the world.

Syrah, Shiraz and Petite Sirah have often been confused and misunderstood, some consumers believing them to all be the same grape, while others thinking the opposite. Petite Sirah is actually the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin and though related, is an entirely different grape variety. Its official name is Durif, for the name of the French nurseryman who first propagated the varietal in the 1880s; it is called Petite Sirah in California (due to the resemblance of Syrah, but smaller berries). Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. Producers in Australia have been labelling Syrah as “Shiraz” since James Busby first introduced the varietal to the continent. The Scottish viticulturist brought Syrah from France to Australia in the middle of the 18th century and labelled the cuttings as “Sycras” and “Ciras,” which may have led to the naming. Most California vintners label their bottlings as Syrah and of course in French style and tradition, the name of the village or area the grape is cultivated dictates the label name.

The Syrah grape is at home in Northern Rhone where the climate is cool and the terroir is filled with gravel, schist, limestone, iron, granite and sandy soils. It thrives on rocky, hilly terrain with a southern exposure, due to its need for sunlight. Syrah is a very vigorous grape with a spreading growth habit. The berries are small to medium oval shaped blue-black and tend to shrivel when ripe.

Today, Syrah is one of the most popular and widely planted grape varietals in the world, covering almost 190,000 hectares across the earth’s surface. It is the only red grape variety permitted by AOC regulations in the appellations of Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, where it has breathed life into some of the most tremendous wines on the planet. Languedoc-Roussilon has the most surface area planted in France with 43,200 hectares dedicated to Syrah. The varietal is used for blending in Southern Rhone, Provence and even Bordeaux. Syrah has spread worldwide from Australia to California and South Africa to Spain creating the ‘New World’ hype of the varietal. Since the 1990’s, Syrah winegrowing and production has increased exponentially; for example, in 1958 there were a mere 2,000 hectares planted in France. By 2005 that number increased to over 68,000 hectares and today it is well over 70,000. The same holds true for California, Australia and other ‘New World’ producers that have jumped “all in.” World-wide there are approximately 190,000 hectares of Syrah currently being cultivated.

The allure of Syrah has taken the world by storm, but is important to note where the hype began. Long before Syrah was being stamped with ‘New World’ or of ‘cult status,’ the tremendous quality of Hermitage was being written about in Thomas Jefferson’s diary. Today, the grape variety can be grown, fashioned, named and enjoyed in a myriad of ways, but the quality of Syrah grape remains the same – incredible.

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