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2018 E. Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc

2018 E. Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc

100 JD

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Featured Review
Built for the long haul, the 2018 Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc is a majestic, noble white that could only come from this incredible, south-facing hillside in Hermitage. Revealing a light gold hue as well as notes of quince, honeyed minerality, toasted spices, orange marmalade, and spring flowers, this deep, rich, and full-bodied white has absorbed just about every trace of its oak élevage and has a concentrated, rich, yet focused and lengthy style. This cuvée had a more oaky, opulent style in the past, but today it comes across as a much more pure, elegant wine while not giving an inch with regard to density, texture, and concentration. As with just about every top Hermitage Blanc today, this offers plenty of immediate pleasure with its pure, fresh, mineral-laced style. Don't discount how much pleasure these wines can offer in their youth and always ignore the "always too young" crowd. This 2018 is going to evolve gracefully and drink brilliantly for 5-7 years, then (maybe) go into a closed, almost oxidative stage, only to emerge after 5-7 years and evolve for decades. Jeb Dunnuck

Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JD

Critic Reviews

Built for the long haul, the 2018 Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc is a majestic, noble white that could only come from this incredible, south-facing hillside in Hermitage. Revealing a light gold hue as well as notes of quince, honeyed minerality, toasted spices, orange marmalade, and spring flowers, this deep, rich, and full-bodied white has absorbed just about every trace of its oak élevage and has a concentrated, rich, yet focused and lengthy style. This cuvée had a more oaky, opulent style in the past, but today it comes across as a much more pure, elegant wine while not giving an inch with regard to density, texture, and concentration. As with just about every top Hermitage Blanc today, this offers plenty of immediate pleasure with its pure, fresh, mineral-laced style. Don’t discount how much pleasure these wines can offer in their youth and always ignore the "always too young" crowd. This 2018 is going to evolve gracefully and drink brilliantly for 5-7 years, then (maybe) go into a closed, almost oxidative stage, only to emerge after 5-7 years and evolve for decades.

Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JD
Full-bodied and rounded, with firm acidity and salinity. The oak has taken over at this early stage and will always be quite dominant, however the fruit is deep and should harmonise with the wood in time. Very long and ending with butterscotch and quince, the élevage will always be a strong feature of the wine, but the depth is there for long ageing. For release in 2022. 100% new oak barriques. Drinking Window 2024 - 2038.

Decanter | 96 DEC
The last time I saw the 2018 Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc, it came across as opulent and fruit-forward. Now that it’s in bottle (and scheduled to be released in February 2022), it’s less tropical, showing more restraint and (perhaps) greater aging potential. Hints of toasted grain, lime custard and scorched lemon zest appear on the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is rich, delivering notes of toasted marshmallow and a heavily textured, slightly coarse texture, but finishes long.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RP

Wine Details for 2018 E. Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc

Type of Wine Hermitage : Hermitage provides a bouquet of scents and flavors with a texture that cannot be fully deciphered. Expect to be blown away by an orchestral composition of primal blackberries and black raspberries, earthy minerals, playful spice and a thick bassline of smoke. Their immense aging potential makes them ideal candidates for hoarding in your cellar!
Varietal Marsanne : Northern Rhone is home to some of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring wine-producing grapes on earth. It is arguably, the hedonistic capital of the wine-world. While the heady and delectable Syrah-based wines of Cote-Rotie have certainly captivated their audience among red wine consumers, the white grape varietals of Northern Rhone have an image all their own for producing sexy, seductive and mouth-watering whites. Among the varietals responsible for such allure is Marsanne. This white grape, along with its relative, Roussanne, have been producing wines of ethereal quality for centuries and recognized as being some of the greatest whites in the world.

The history of Marsanne remains somewhat of a mystery, though it is believed to have originated in the town for which it is named, Marsanne, near Montelimar, in the northern Rhone Valley. Marsanne-based wines (along with Roussanne) from Hermitage gained notoriety during the 17th Century, being considered among the world’s finest. Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador to France, third president of the United States and wine connoisseur, claimed white Hermitage to be “...the first wine in the world without a single exception.”

Together, Marsanne and Roussanne form the core of white wines from Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Saint-Peray. Marsanne possesses good weight and structure, adds depth and rich texture but lacks any depth of perfume, which explains its long standing Rhone Valley tradition of being blending with is more aromatic relative, Roussanne. Though It is rarely seen apart from Roussanne (to which is shares a parent-offspring relationship) due to the incredible cooperative nature the two varietals serve one another, Marsanne has long suffered the stigma of being the inferior grape. Recently, however, the roles have reversed and Marsanne now occupies more vineyard space in the Northern Rhone than its aromatic stablemate, which is fussier in the vineyard, requiring warmer temperatures and is susceptible to a slew of vineyard diseases. The passing of the torch is not a completely accurate statement, though Marsanne is enjoying its deserved fame, as some of the greatest producers in the world, such as Chapoutier, are creating masterpieces from 100% Marsanne grapes.

Marsanne thrives in terroirs composed of clay, granite, chalk and limestone soils, which are typical of those found in the Northern Rhone Valley. It is perfectly suited to the hilly terrain of Hermitage, where it reaches its best expression. The cooler climate of the region allows the varietal to produce extremely complex and age-worthy wines. The plant, itself, demands a great amount of time to mature and bear fruit, but is one of the longest living, with some of its oldest vines being over 100 years of age.

The berries are small in size with a skin that combines gold, green and brown hues. They grow in loose bunches, which allows natural ventilation and acts as a deterrent against bunch rot and other vineyard hazards. The vines are quite vigorous and thrive in the “poor” soil composition of the region, needing little rain; however it can be a bit demanding of water during the hotter summer months. Harvesting is time-sensitive and must be completed promptly otherwise the grapes lose much needed acidity (as the grapes are considered low to moderate).

Wines produced from Marsanne have aromas of roasted nuts, pears, white peaches, honeydew melon, spices and wildflower, such as honeysuckle, with flavors of honey, chamomile and vanilla custard. They can develop an enthralling mouthfeel with a silky, exotic, oily texture. Marsanne-based wines drink well young, but time spent in bottle allows for notes of hazelnut and almond and the honey tones deepen to caramel. The wines are age-worthy and can be cellared for a decade or more. Although dry styles of Marsanne are more common, some of the very finest examples of the varietal are the sweet Vin de Paille wines, otherwise known as “straw wine.” This labor intensive method entails the grapes being dried on straw mats in the sun, allowing them to become shriveled, raisin-like and extremely concentrated, before being pressed and fermented. The result is a honey-like nectar, sweet dessert wine and is highly touted as being one of the greatest wines in the world.

Eighty percent of the world’s Marsanne is found in France, which should not be surprising. Outside its native homeland of the Rhone Valley, Marsanne has found second home in Australia. The varietal arrived to the southern continent in the 1860s and has done quite well in the terroir and climate “down under.” California is seeing more production from the white varietal, most notably from Tablas Creek, which is considered one of the more Rhone inspired producers, or “Rhone Ranger.” The world is becoming more cognizant of the varietal to which it is greatly deserved.
Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


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 Hermitage

Overview

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.

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