2003 had a very warm growing season throughout most of Europe, and this is one of the few wines from that year that I have found consistently enjoyable. It seems to be drinking at or near its peak right now.
The color is medium deep with some slight amber tones creeping in at the edges. The nose is very open with intense aromas of black pepper, red fruit, mint and lavender. Good ripe fruit on the palate with no hint of the alcoholic heat that mars some wines from '03. Strawberry tart flavors, almost caramelized, that coat the tongue from front to back and linger for several seconds. Whether you go for Old or New World wines, you should be able to enjoy the Guigal Cotes du Rhone right now.
Although the Guigal 2004 has hit the market, you should still be able to find the 2003 on a few wine store shelves for around $12.