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guigal cote rotieThe best wines in the world show well even in poor vintages, and 2008 was cold and rainy in the Northern Rhone throughout much of the summer. This wine from the iconic E.Guigal lacks the concentration and depth you expect from this producer but it makes up for it with cool weather crispness, bright red fruit, intense floral notes and a distinctive background wash of rainforest mist, a soft, filigreed, green-laced mineral note that I don’t think I’ve encountered before. In the right hands, these subtleties come out to play when the sun stays home.

After a three-hour decant, the wine opened with bright, red cherry although the fruit darkens as it sits in the glass. Hints of chocolate, black olive, and roasted herbs fill out the pretty flavor profile. At first it revealed only brief hints of the barbecued meat character of more robust vintages, although with lots of air some smoke began to emerge.  On the palate a seam of juicy fruit supports a taut line of soft acidity blooming coldly as it traces the wine’s considerable length. Its relatively slender, medium body has a texture more like silk than velvet. The early onset tannins are exquisite, meandering quietly through the gorgeous, endless finish.

Elegant and stylish, the energy is relaxed and graceful, unhurried yet bursting with good cheer. A wine like this cries out for Miles witnessing the Birth of the Cool, especially the warm, inviting Boplicity with its shifting tonal colors which match the polished ebb and flow of the wine.

It has just entered its drinking window and shows great integration and balance with only a hint of dried fruit on the finish. It will gain complexity with a bit more time but it drinks well now. I would not hold on to this for the long term as it seemed quite advanced on day 2.

Technical Notes: Guigal is the benchmark for Cote Rotie wines and produces about 40% of the wine coming out of the region. La Turque is a small vineyard with southern exposure on the steep slopes overlooking the village of Ampuis. It’s planted with 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier which is included in the blend. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and macerated for four weeks, the wine is then aged for 42 months in new French casks.

Score: 94

Price: $232

Alc: 13%

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