Drinks International puts Maison Guigal as the world’s most admired French wine brand and the second most-admired European brand and Philippe, together with his wife Eve, hosted the press tasting of Guigal Wines at Cavern Wine Bar, Baggot Street, recently.
The Guigal family’s association with Barry & Fitzwilliam, its distributor here, dates back to 1996 and Guigal’s status as a family-owned winery puts it in an increasingly rarefied atmosphere where today, less than 5% of wineries in the Rhone Valley are family-owned.
With Eve by his side Philippe represents the third generation and continues the family work at Cote Rotie.
His grandfather Etienne founded Domaine Guigal in 1946 and vinified some 67 crops there while Philippe’s father Marcel has just completed his own 57th. An oenologist by training, Philippe himself has just partaken of his 23rd vintage.
He presented six different wines from the Guigal portfolio, each paired with a different tapas-style dish:
- With Rosés trending globally, Guigal’s Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2016 is macerated on skins for just two to three hours to give its characteristic light pink Rosé colour.
- Only 8-9% of the wine produced in the Rhone Valley is white and the Guigal Estate is responsible for about a quarter of this. In Philippe’s own words, this wine “is produced in the Southern Rhone but from a Northern Rhone vision”.
- The “entry door” to Southern Rhone wines, Guigal has only just released its 2014 vintage where most other Cote du Rhone Reds are 2015 or 2016 vintages as Philippe likes to age these wines.
- The entry door of Northern Rhone wines can be experienced in Guigal’s 100% Syrah Crozes-Hermiage 2012 while its Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red 2012 blends some 43 estates.
- But the Guigal Estate has just bought 53 Hectares here from a wine group that has owned the three-terroir Malice range for the past 42 years.
- The final wine tasted was the Cote Rotie 2013, “a fantastic vintage” according to Phillipe, which they store for 36 months in barrels from Guigal’s own cooperage.