Old World to be sure; the E. Guigal Estates and its  combined 390 hectares (889 acres) of vineyards lie on some of the most anciently cultivated viticulture spaces in all of France.  The layered terraces and dramatic slopes have been growing grapes and  producing wine since the time of the Ancient Romans¹.  The 12th-century fort on the estate was made habitable in the 16th century and remains an historic site as well as the winery’s headquarters².  Indeed many of the root-stocks that still produce fruit are in excess of 100 years old³! The cellars of the Guigal estate also house vintages from several other producers; most notably the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

For an unworthy vinoboy to find this last bottle on the shelf in the Vintages section of my favorite LCBO was indeed a treat. I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.  I wasted no time in sharing this vino with my foodie- and vino- friends; and especially for this review, I was blindfolded throughout most of the meal.  (call us all insane, but I assure you, ther WAS a reason.)

I HAD been informed that tonight would be a low-and-slow-cooked (as in 8 hours!!!) venison stew.  The aromas filling the house were mouth-watering and complex as I sat with my foodies and vinos in the lounge.  The slow-cooker was producing meaty flavors of game, onions, Bay Laurel, and loads of Provencale-style herbs.  Dinner was called, the blindfold (in advance of the vino tasting) applied, to the dining table led and a glass placed in my hands.

On the nose, a combination of black fruits and spices gaves an almost peppermint bouquet to the vino in my glass.  I’m experiencing a full-bodied rich palate with big juicy salivations of licorice & earth blending yummily with opulent infusions of violets and cocoa. The linger feels modestly long without any forced intensity.  Whatever this vino is doing, its completely wonderful.  Once I’d stopped rambling about the wine, the blindfold was removed, a laugh was had by all as my seeming silliness and both stew and wine polished off in their entirety.

The Guigal’s suggest drinking the 2006 vintage now for optimal flavors and characteristics.  It has been rumored that this and the soon-to-be-released 2008 vintage can be laid down for upward of 10 years!  If  I find a bottle of either next visit to the boozatorium at ~$17/btl, I will most assuredly grab it.  It MIGHT be cellared, it might be shared – hard to say. *wink

I certainly hope to encounter the 2006 again, though and I am balancing my anticipation of the 2008 upon the edge of my glass.



**image credit – the winery; edited for space limitations and republished under fair use provisions for review and critique.

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