E. Guigal takes its name from Etienne Guigal, who founded the estate in 1946. Marcel Guigal, Etienne’s son, took over the estate in 1961 when Etienne became disabled, and today the estate is run by Marcel, his son and wife. Considered one of the most outstanding producers of the Rhone Valley, the 109-acre estate is located in Ampuis, in the Northern Rhone Valley. Organic grape growing combined with late harvesting and low yields all help shape the wines, which include Cote Rotie, Ermitage red and white, and Condrieu. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called the estate’s Cote Rotie consistently “mind boggling,” and has noted that the “quality and distinctiveness of each (Guigal) wine is equaled in few other cellars in the world.” Vineyards are planted to Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane. About 65,000 bottles are produced annually.
The Northern Rhône Valley wine region hugs the Rhône River from Vienne in the north to Valence at its southern tip. The French call the region Côtes du Rhône Septentrionales, and it is divided into eight appellations. Along with its neighbor to the south, the Southern Rhone Valley, it is famous for its big, tannic, intensely concentrated wines. Syrah is the only red grape permitted in AOC wines from this sub-region, though the Syrah can be blended with the white wine grapes Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the regulations for each AOC. White wines are made from Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Of the eight appellations in the north, the most admired wines tend to come from Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Hermitage, though there are certainly exceptional wines to be found in St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, St.-Peray, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas. Along with Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, Rhône wines are among France’s best known and most collected wines. Red wines from these appellations are notable for their signature aromas of bacon and green olives, and for their depth. Robert M. Parker, a great champion of Rhone wines, has written that “the northern Rhône produces three of the greatest wines in the world – the white wines of Condrieu and the red wines of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage.”
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.