E. Guigal, Côte Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France) “Brune et Blonde de Guigal” 2019

($91, Vintus):  Côte Rôtie, or “roasted slope” transliterated into English, is composed of two major subdivisions, the Côte Brune and the Côte Blonde.  Typically, the former imparts more power to the Syrah grown there because of the iron rich soil, while the latter is home to Syrah with more finesse, reflecting its limestone soil.  Guigal, the largest owner and producer of Côte Rôtie — and in my estimation, the best — uses grapes from both slopes for this bottling.  They also include a small amount — less than five percent — of Viognier with the Syrah which adds perfume and elegance.  To me, Brune et Blonde de Guigal, rather than La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque, their single vineyard ones, is their flagship bottling and their best value.  And you can find it because they make about 250,000 bottles of it annually.  The gorgeous and youthful 2019 displays both the meaty smoky power and the refinement of Syrah.  Despite its intensity, it is not overdone, but rather beautifully balanced with suave tannins and energy.  Enjoy it now for its robust energy and black pepper-like spice or cellar it and watch it morph into a more gracious stage.
94 Michael Apstein Oct 17, 2023