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2015 Guigal Côte-Rotie "Château d'Ampuis" (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1388151 97-99 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Another absolutely off-the-charts barrel sample is the 2015 Côte Rôtie Chateau d’Ampuis, which comes from a blend of seven estate vineyards. Its inky black color is followed by profound notes of crème de cassis, toasted spices, violets and smoked meats. Full-bodied, impeccably balanced, concentrated and tannic, and yet always elegant and precise, it’s certainly a match for the three single-vineyard releases. As always, my visit with Marcel and Philippe Guigal is one of the highlights of my entire time spent working in the northern Rhône. As I think the list of wines demonstrate, this is a huge lineup, yet the theme across the entire range is incredible quality. Looking at the top Côte Rôties, the current releases in bottle are the 2012s and these are rich, supple, sexy, even flamboyant wines that will be relatively approachable in their youth, yet have broad drink windows. The 2013s are much more backward and restrained, and built for the long haul, but the long élevage favored at this estate is certainly helping to soften the tannin and give the wines a suppler texture. As to the 2014s, I was shocked at the depth and density this team was able to get in these wines, but this is another vintage that will be approachable in its youth. Lastly, and from vintage described by Marcel as the best of his lifetime (how’s that for perspective?), the 2015s are inky and primordial, with mind-boggling depth and density. These will be reviewed two to three more times before relea (JD)  (12/2016)

95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2015 Cote Rotie Chateau d'Ampuis finally approaches the lofty goals set for it by the Guigal family. It’s a bit toasty from the barrel but full-bodied, ripe and concentrated. Loaded with tannins and black raspberry fruit, it’s silky at the same time, leaving behind lingering traces of mocha and roasted meat on the long finish. Knowing the extensive tasting that was in store for me at this address, I scheduled an entire morning to go through the firm’s offerings. The company’s wines undergo unusually long élevages, which means there are always multiple vintages of each wine to taste. It does provide an ideal snapshot of the various appellations/vintages. For my visit, Philippe Guigal and the winemaking team prepared prospective samples of the wines that were not yet bottled. The big news here is the acquisition of Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf du Pape, which immediately becomes a property to watch. Those wines will continue to be reviewed separately as part of the Southern Rhône report. (JC)  (12/2017)


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Price: $99.99

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Additional Information:

Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.
Sub-Region:

Rhone

- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market.
Specific Appellation:

Cote Rotie