The firm E. Guigal, located at Ampuis, the village of the Cote Rotie vineyards, was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal, who had apprenticed at the old firm of Vidal Fleury starting in 1924. Etienne's son Marcel has been wine maker and director since 1962. Marcel has carried on the tradition of the Rhone regions modernize in was that improve, but do not change, the traditional style. In the northern Rhone, traditional wines are vinified with a long maceration with skins and stems, and after pressing are aged in oak casks, large and small, for several years. Traditionally, the wines are racked, but neither fined nor filtered. The maturation and clarification are slow.

Guigal's red wines are aged 3 or 4 years in oak before bottling, and hence for sale 1 to 3 years older than most Rhone wines sold today. They tend to be deep in color, strong in flavor, and often rich in alcohol. His vinification in closed vats does not allow the escape of alcohol during the fermentation. With this method and these grapes, chaptalization of the must is not frequently necessary.

The Guigal wines, solely from the traditional Rhone Valley appelations, include the following (from north to south): Cote-Rotie, Condrieu, Hermitagne Rouge and Blanc, Cote du Ghone Rouge, Rose and Blanc, Tavel Gigondas, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. He produces three single-vineyard wines from Cote-Rotie: La Moulline (Cote Blonde), La Landonne (Cote Brune) and La Turque (Cote Brune). The single vineyards wines, the ³crus², produced by Guigal, have become quite likely the most sought after wines in the world. There are only about 1,500 cases and they have become virtually unobtainable. The 1995 overall production of Guigal is about 200.000 cases, of which about 20,000 is Cote-Rotie, about 5,000 Hermitage, a sizable quantity of Cotes du Rhone Rouge, a growing amount of Blanc, and several thousand cases of Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Condrieu fluctuates with the vintage, but is always a scarce and sought after wine. The singe vineyard wines range from 300 to 700 cases each.

E. Guigal / Rhone / Cote Rotie / Ampuis, France

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