"We are a very humble appellation but we refuse to produce humble wines. We produce exceptional wines."
Philippe Guigal, 3rd generation winemaker of E.Guigal.
Philippe Guigal's confidence in his family's wines is well-earned. Since his grandfather Etienne founded E. Guigal in 1946, they have become one of France's most well-known and respected producers of quality wines. For three generations the Guigal family has been working with land that is more than 24 centuries old in the Rhône Valley, in southern France. Guigal's exquisite vineyards in the Northern Rhône are located in areas that lovers of French wines know very well: Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage.
French wines can be intimidating for those of us who don't speak French and are uncertain of the geographic specifics of each region. But my tasting with winemaker Philippe Guigal reminded me that wine should be approached without fear. Wine is beauty and pleasure. It is history and culture. Wine provides common ground for an unconventional wine blogger from New York and an elegant winemaker from France to start a conversation and share some laughs.
As Philippe shared a beautiful selection of his family's wines, I was reminded that tasting wine and sharing it with others is the most important step in the journey and the gateway to learning more. Get your own journey started with one of these 3 wonderful Guigal wines.
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhone White 2015 ($15)
Red wines dominate production in the Rhône but Guigal is the biggest producer of white wine in the region and it accounts for about 20% of their production - compared to 2% for the entire region. A blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, and other grapes, this is a crisp yet rich white wine with vibrant and juicy flavors of honeysuckle and peach with a firm mineral streak. Elegant and so affordable!
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhone Red 2013 ($15)
Philippe describes this rich red as "serious but not difficult to approach" and "powerful but not rude in any way." A blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre; this robust wine is a beautifully balanced tapestry of bold fruit, spice, acidity, and structure that makes an elegant statement.
E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2014 ($25)
"Like biting into a Syrah grape" is Philippe's perfect description of this rich red. Fresh and juicy with sexy pops of peppery spice, this is a cuddle-worthy wine for the winter - elegant, cozy, and luxurious.