2009 Guigal St Joseph Vignes des Hospices

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2009 Guigal St Joseph Vignes des Hospices

An exotic and flashy red, with bold espresso, melted licorice, incense and black tea aromatics rushing forth, backed by dense but focused noted of blackberry and plum pâte de fruit. The long, graphite-filled finish drips with fruit and singed wood notes, and should meld nicely in the cellar. Best from 2013 through 2023. 915 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 95 WS
After aging 30 months in 100% new oak the 2009 St.-Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice is a wine of extraordinary intensity. It ranks alongside some of the luxury cuvees of Chapoutier, Delas, Andre Perret and Jean-Louis Chave as one of the finest St.-Josephs of the appellation. It emerges from what may be the most remarkable vineyard from a photogenic perspective towering above the village of Tournon on an incredibly steep slope. A dense purple color is followed by copious aromas of camphor, licorice, subtle smoke, lead pencil shavings, blackberries and cassis. This is a superb wine to drink over the next 15+ years.

The Guigal family may be the modern world’s greatest testament to a family-run winery with impeccably high standards, integrity and an uncompromising vision of the future. They continue to push the envelope of quality to greater and greater heights. Marcel Guigal learned it all from his father, Etienne, a legend in the Northern Rhone. Over my three decade plus career, it has been a noteworthy story to watch Marcel’s son, Philippe, take full responsibility for the future direction of this incredible enterprise, if not empire. I have almost unlimited admiration for the Guigals and their ability to produce millions of bottles of inexpensive Cotes du Rhones that are among the finest of the entire Rhone Valley, as well as their portfolio of exquisite whites, reds and roses from the most prestigious appellations in the Rhone. After more than three decades of tasting here, I never cease to be amazed by what they accomplish. I have said this many, many times, but it bears repeating – the magic of the Guigals is not only due to having some extraordinary vineyards in St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cote Rotie and Condrieu, but also the ability to pay the highest price for purchased grapes and/or wine from which they fashion remarkable blends. The importance of a wine’s upbringing (or, as the French call it, elevage) is the key to understanding the entire Guigal locomotive. No one does it better; no one has done it longer; and no one seems to have the Midas touch for putting the wines in the bottle at precisely the right moment to capture the essence of a wine before it begins to fade or lose its vibrancy. This may sound easy, but to date, no one comes remotely close to what the Guigals consistently do across all fields of play. About a decade ago, Guigal’s white wines began to take on an amazing level of quality and the family continues to augment and increase that quality. Their Cotes du Rhone Blanc, usually a blend of two-thirds Viognier and the rest Clairette and Bourboulenc, has become a reference point for what amazing value and high quality can be achieved in a completely naked, expressive wine. Guigal produces approximately 40% of all the Condrieu made, and he continues to add some exquisite terroirs to his portfolio. For example, he recently bought the vineyard owned by Alain Parent and Gerard Depardieu, Lys de Volant. Guigal can produce two cuvees of white Hermitage, their regular blend of 90% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne, and, in exceptional vintages, a luxury cuvee called Ex-Voto, which is approximately 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. It spends more time in small new oak than the regular cuvee. From the Northern Rhone, Guigal’s finest values are his Crozes-Hermitage and his lower level cuvees of St.-Joseph, all of which are 100% Syrah. The Crozes-Hermitage comes from hillside vineyards and the St.-Joseph comes from hillsides with decomposed granite soils that are commonplace in the northern half of that sprawling appellation. There are three cuvees of St.-Joseph, the generic St.-Joseph, the Lieu-Dit St.-Joseph (which comes from estate vineyards), and one of the greatest wines of the appellation, the St.-Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice, an extremely steep, photogenic site that towers above the town of Tournon, across the Rhone River from Tain L’Hermitage. With the purchase of the estates of Jean-Louis Grippat as well as the holdings of De Vallouit, Guigal increased his estate vineyards in Hermitage. A basic Hermitage cuvee is produced each year, and in the top vintages, a luxury cuvee called Ex-Voto is made. Guigal now owns vineyards in the famed lieux-dits of Les Bessards, Dionnieres, l’Ermite and Le Meal. The regular Hermitage is generally aged for up to three years in small oak casks, about 50% new. When declared, the Ex-Voto is given the same 42 months in 100% new French oak as his three single vineyard Cote Roties (La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque). The Ex-Voto is a blend of fruit from Les Bessards (40%), Les Greffieux (40%) and Les Murets (20%). Guigal produces approximately 300,000 bottles each year of his Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde. We started with the 2008, probably the second worst vintage in the Northern Rhone (2002 being the worst in the last decade). Not a single vineyard wine, but a prodigious Cote Rotie is Guigal’s Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis. Marcel Guigal’s son, Philippe, lives at this estate with his wife and children, and this is also where they cooper their wood barrels made from staves that are air-dried a minimum of three years. This cuvee is always a blend of some of the finest parcels on the hillsides of Cote Rotie, including La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin and La Viria. It is aged 38 months in 100% new French oak, and around 2,000 cases are produced in most vintages. The three single vineyard Cote Roties are consistently among the world’s greatest wines. I often find La Mouline to be a so-called “desert island” wine as it was in vintages such as 1978, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2009. La Mouline is made from the oldest vines and is vinified differently than the other single vineyard cuvees, utilizing pump-over techniques as opposed to punching down (La Turque) or immersed cap (La Landonne). To reiterate, the Cote Rotie La Turque comes from the Cote Brune and its upbringing is the same as La Mouline’s, aged 42 months in 100% new French oak, co-fermented with 5-7% Viognier, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. It comes from younger vines as the first vintage was 1985 and that remarkable wine was made from 3-year-old vines (which puts a kink in the French myth that old vines are always the best). As I previously indicated, La Turque is vinified by punching down as opposed to pumping over or the immersed cap fermentation of La Landonne. The third of these prodigious Cote Roties, La Landonne, comes from the Cote Brune. Unlike its siblings, it is 100% Syrah that receives the same upbringing, 42 months in 100% new French oak and bottling with no fining or filtration. The other luxury cuvee, although not a single vineyard wine, is the Hermitage Ex-Voto, which is aged 42 months in 100% new oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is always fashioned from Les Bessards (40%), Les Greffieux (40%), Les Murets (10%) and l’Ermite (10%). The Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape produced by Guigal are often excellent, even outstanding wines that sell for a fraction of the price asked for his luxury cuvees of Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Condrieu and St.-Joseph. Guigal’s Gigondas spends around 24-25 months in wood foudres, and includes a great deal of Mourvedre in the blend. The Chateauneuf du Pape, which comes from purchased wine, is aged two years in foudre prior to release. Guigal normally includes a minimum of 10% Mourvedre in the blend, with the balance old vine Grenache. As I have said many times, one of these days the Guigals will purchase a famous estate in Chateauneuf du Pape because Marcel’s father, Etienne, had always said the three greatest appellations of the Rhone Valley were Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Chateauneuf du Pape (few people would disagree).

Robert Parker | 94+ RP
Inky purple. An explosively perfumed bouquet presents ripe blackberry, cassis, cherry compote, star anise and cola. A massive, densely packed wine that shows impressive depth as well as energy to its black and blue fruit flavors, which expand with air. Very long and pure on the mineral-tinged finish, displaying notes of dark berry liqueur and fruity black pepper.

Vinous Media | 94 VM

More Information
Vintage 2009
Color Red
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.
Producer E. Guigal
Rating 95 WS
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.
Type of Wine Rhone (Other): Rhone wines come from southern France, where a wide variety of grapes are cultivated. Some of the most commonly used varietals within this region are Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Cinsaut for red wines, while white blends are typically based on Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Blanc and others.
Varietal Shiraz/Syrah: Syrah, or also commonly known as Shiraz is one of the darkest thick and full-bodied wine filled with aromatic hints of blueberry, blackberry, and some spicy peppery notes. Primarily grown in France, you can easily find a bottle throughout Australia, Spain, Italy, Chile, and Argentina.
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