Most of us geeks pass over many of the larger Rhone negocients when browsing bottles. Chapoutier, Jaboulet, Guigal, etc. But not all negocients are made the same. In my view, Guigal can surprise and makes some very good village wines – see their Crozes-Hermitage rouge.
Of course, though this wine is also negocient wine, we are dealing with something of a different class. Guigal is known for Cote-Rotie, particularly the three lalas that are the stuff of unmarked briefcases full of money. I’ve been lucky enough to taste a couple of them, and when on they are special wines. There is some controversy though with Guigal’s embracing new oak with abandon (100% for 42 months), and it is fair to point out that Guigal’s top wines are not as transparent as others – see, for example, Jamet or Clusel-Roche.
The Brune et Blonde does not share the same commitment to oak as the lalas (only 50% new for 36 months) and I find it generally to have more typicity on a vintage to vintage basis. On the other hand, it does not consistently justify its price tag and so I often recommend the wines of other producers to those seeking Cote-Rotie. However, this 2010 is outstanding stuff and speaks for the quality of that vintage in the Northern Rhone.
Unlike other vintages, there is no green-ness or intense pepper in this wine. It is also less floral than vintages such as 2006, focused more on rich red and black fruits alongside olives and a subtle hint of violets from the 4% Viognier. This is soft, accessible wine and a complete Syrah experience.
~$90 at Kits Wine