Saturday, November 8, 2008

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone, 2003

In contrast to the 2003 Font-Sane Cotes du Ventoux reviewed below, this Cotes du Rhone represents the 2003 Southern Rhone vintage at its best. It's very deep and dark in color; must have a good bit of Syrah in the blend. It's also deep and serious on the nose: tobacco, herbs, black pepper, black fruits and garrigue. On the palate, it has good body, good strength and just the right amount of warmth. The alcoholic content is listed at 13 percent, and there are no raisins and no alcoholic heat at this stage (although I did detect a hint of raisins on the second night). The wine is very concentrated and powerful; in this respect, it reminds me of an old vine Dry Creek Zinfandel or a Salice Salentino from Italy. Sticking to the Southern Rhone, a comparison to Gigondas or Vacqueyras may be more appropriate.

Guigal Cotes du Rhone has a reputation for quality and staying power. I remember enjoying the excellent 1983 well into the decade of the 1990s. The wine is widely available, and I suspect there are still some 2003s on the shelves. Guigal 2004 and 2005, from reports I have read, are very different wines...but still very good.

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