2003 E. Guigal, Cote Rotie, La Turque RP100
1999 E. Guigal, Cote Rotie, La Turque, Bottle (750ml) RP100

The World-Class Syrah of Côte-Rôtie

Hugging the Rhône River as it meanders south towards the Mediterranean, the small Côte-Rôtie region in Southern France is known for growing some of the world’s most famous Syrah from its steep hillside slopes. The distinctive red wines of the region, produced with Syrah typically blended with a touch of Viognier, have become a global benchmark, inspiring winemakers around the world to try to emulate the style. While there are many illustrious producers throughout the Rhône Valley, E. Guigal stands out as the most iconic producer of Côte-Rôtie, and arguably, of the entire Rhône region.

E. Guigal History: From Family Estate To Global Icon

Despite its far-reaching and grand reputation, E. Guigal is a modest, family-owned winery that has only risen to prominence in recent decades. Étienne Guigal founded the winery in Ampuis in 1946 after working in vineyards starting from the early age of 14. Étienne’s career and health faced a significant challenge when he was suddenly struck blind in 1961. At only 18-years-old, Étienne’s only son, Marcel, joined his father to help with the family business. The two worked together over the decades, embracing modern techniques and innovation to elevate the quality of their wines to new heights, and their efforts did not go unnoticed.

In the mid-1980s, E. Guigal’s polished style caught the eye of Robert Parker who stated, "In the past 26 years I have spent visiting wineries and vignerons, I have never seen a producer so fanatical about quality as Marcel Guigal." This boost in international exposure cast a spotlight on Côte-Rôtie and transformed E. Guigal into one of the most famous and recognizable names in the world. Carrying on this proud lineage, Marcel's son, Philippe, took the reins as chief winemaker in 1997, perpetuating the legacy built by his father and grandfather.

E. Guigal Wines: From Côte-Rôtie to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Today, E. Guigal remains most notable for its flagship "La La” Wines—La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque—but Guigal has since extended its span of vineyard holdings to include sites throughout the Rhône Valley, spanning from the Northern Rhône where the estate is based down into the Southern Rhône. E. Guigal has a vast portfolio with a range of styles from various appellations, including Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, Gigondas, Condrieu, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Guigal also crafts a beautiful and rare late-harvest dessert wine, Luminescence, 100% Viognier from Condrieu, which is only produced in exceptional vintages. So far, only 3 vintages have ever been produced: 1999, 2003, and 2015.

Côte Rôtie – Rhône Valley Syrah-Viognier Blends

At the northern tip of France's Rhône Valley wine region lies the prestigious red-wine appellation, Côte Rôtie. Positioned just south of Vienne and 35km from Lyon, this small yet sought-after appellation encompasses the parishes of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône, and Tupin-et-Semons. The steep, southeast-facing slopes, rising sharply from the banks of the Rhone to heights of 330m, are bathed in sunlight, producing powerful and elegant wines on iron-rich soils. The term "Côte Rôtie," translating to "roasted slope" in French, perfectly describes the aptly named south-facing vineyards, where the soils and temperatures align to maximize warm, deep aromatics from the grapes. Notable sites like Côte Brune, Côte Blonde, La Mouline, La Landonne, and La Turque, situated above Ampuis town, yield the finest wines. The addition of up to 20 percent Viognier enhances balance and aromatic dimensions. Etienne and Marcel Guigal's contributions have spurred a renaissance in Côte Rôtie, elevating its global reputation. The La Mouline, La Landonne, and La Turque wines from Guigal have played a pivotal role, solidifying Côte Rôtie's status as a dynamic appellation. 

E. Guigal LaLa Wines – The Holy Trinity of Côte-Rôtie

“Guigal's Cote Roties, particularly the single vineyard wines, are exceptional wines. They offer extraordinary flavor intensity, impeccable purity, and awesome length and complexity. The yields from the three vineyards - La Mouline, La Landonne, and La Turque - rarely exceed two tons per acre. Moreover, no one harvests any later. While all three wines share phenomenal concentration and marvelous perfumes, they could not be more different." - Robert Parker on the La-La Wines

While the Guigal name has expanded throughout the Rhône Valley, Côte Rôtie remains the ultimate showcase of their talents. The famed "La La" wines—La Mouline, La Landonne, and La Turque—are single-site bottlings from premium vineyards considered benchmarks of the region. Each wine embodies the unique character of its terroir and the intriguing interplay between Syrah and Viognier (or in the case of La Landonne, a full 100% Syrah expression).

La Mouline

Robert Parker writes in 1992, “La Mouline contains the highest percentage of Viognier of the three Guigal single vineyards. The amount can vary, but it is usually between 8-12%. This gives La Mouline the most intense perfume of the trio. While the color is always a dark ruby/purple, La Mouline will never be as black as La Landonne, which is made from 100% Syrah, or La Turque, which may include a small percentage of Viognier. La Mouline is the most seductive of the three wines when young, offering a sweet, chewy, multi-textured style that is impossible to resist. It is also the least ageworthy. While vertical tastings have proven that La Mouline will easily keep for 15-20 years, it can easily be drunk when it is released. La Mouline also comes from Guigal's oldest vineyard, with vines that are over 75 years in age.”

La Landonne

La Landonne, a single-varietal Syrah sourced from the iron-rich limestone clay of Côte Brune, offers an explosion of dark fruit flavors intertwined with smoked, gamey meats, and mineral nuances. Despite taking the longest to mature among Guigal's Big Three, the 2016 vintage, praised by Jeb Dunnuck, embodies a textbook La Landonne with smoked meats, black fruits, crushed rocks, full-bodied richness, surprising elegance, flawless balance, and a compelling finish.

La Turque

Harvested from a steep, one-hectare plot on the Côte Brune, La Turque features Syrah with around 7% Viognier, resulting in a wine with enchanting aromatics and a vibrant hue. This wine undergoes an extensive 42-month aging process in 100% new oak, developing remarkable depth and complexity. La Turque's concentrated and robust profile strikes a harmonious balance between power and finesse, attracting many devotees. Despite being grown on younger vines compared to its La-La Wine counterparts, it presents a darker and denser profile than La Mouline but is not as tannic or powerful as La Landonne.

E. Guigal La-La Wines: Critics' Favorite & Consistent 100-pointers

"More perfect scores than any other wines in the world!" says Robert Parker of Guigal's single vineyard Côte Rôties. Maybe that is why it is referred to as a desert island wine!

  • RP 100 "The 2003 Cote Rotie La Landonne continues to blow me away every time I taste it and it's a desert island wine for me. One of the stars of this extreme vintage, it offers sensational levels of fruit and decadence, perfumed, intense aromatics, beautiful freshness and a to-die-for texture and finish. Still youthful, with masses of sweet tannin, it's nevertheless a heavenly drink today.” JD for WA Sep 2015
  • RP100 "As long-time readers know, I have given a disproportionate number of perfect scores to Guigal's Cote Roties. And guess what? Guigal's current releases, the 1988s, all merit perfect scores. I thought they were potentially perfect from cask, and now that they are in the bottle I have to believe that they are Guigal's most successful wines since his 1978s. They are even richer than the extraordinary 1985s, and more concentrated than the magnificent 1983s.” RP Dec 1997
  • RP100 “The 2005 Cote Rotie la Turque is utterly profound, and a desert island wine if there ever was one. Crème de cassis, blackcurrants, chocolate, barbecued meats and bacon fat all literally soar from the glass of this full-bodied, structured, perfectly balanced Cote Rotie that doesn’t have a hair out of place. It’s just now at the early stages of drinkability and will benefit from 2-4 more years in the cellar, and keep for 2-3 decades after that.JD for WA Dec. 2016
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