2003 E. Guigal, Cote Rotie, La Turque RP100

100 Point Robert Parker's Desert Island Wine

"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!

E. Guigal – Consistent 100-pointers

Founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in Apus, E. Guigal is a distinguished winery in the Rhône Valley, renowned for its headquarters near the sun-soaked slopes of Côte Rôtie. Notable for its flagship wines, the esteemed "LaLa’s”—La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque—Guigal's extensive vineyard holdings span both the northern and southern Rhône, emphasizing classic varietals like Syrah on the iconic Côte Rôtie. While producing a range of wines from various appellations, including Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, Gigondas, Condrieu, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the spotlight remains on the acclaimed La Landonne, La Turque, and La Mouline, each consistently earning 100-point Robert Parker scores. These wines, including the Syrah-Viognier blends La Mouline and La Turque, mature for 42 months in new oak, resulting in dense and aromatic profiles. Guigal also crafts the late-harvest dessert wine Luminescence from Viognier in Condrieu, reserved for exceptional vintages. 

Côte Rôtie – Small Appellation, Big Wines

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. 

Guigal’s LaLa’s – The Holy Trinity

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

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

La Turque, situated on the steep slope of Côte Blonde, strikes a balance between its La La counterparts. Despite being grown on younger vines, it presents a darker and denser profile than La Mouline but is not as tannic or powerful as La Landonne. Comprising 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier, the 2009 vintage, as described by Jeb Dunnuck, is ripe and voluptuous, showcasing incredible aromas and flavors of black currants, coffee bean, roasted meats, licorice, and raw steak, highlighting the wine's powerful yet elegant complexity.

Mr. Parker further adds, “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."

Guigal's La La wines represent a triumph of artistry and terroir, embodying the essence of the Rhône Valley's winemaking heritage. Each sip tells a story of a prestigious small appellation producing wines larger than life.


Written by: Arabella Maislinger

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