Wine of the week – 2014 Guigal Cotes du Rhone $19.99

It’s surprising how tasty this humbly priced southern French red is. And it has improved immeasurably over the past decade, ever since the family owned Guigal winery moved all their wine aging to Ampuis, in the northern Rhone.

 

This month the New Zealand wine trade were privileged to have Rod Hull visiting the country to introduce nearly the entire range of Guigal wines, providing indepth detail about what makes these wines so good. Hull is an Englishman based in Bordeaux where he works with a wide range of top European wine brands, including Guigal and Chave, among many others. He was in New Zealand liaising with Negociants NZ, which import and distributor the Guigal wines here.

While it was a privilege to taste a lot of great Guigal and other wines, it was the detail about the lovely, lively Cotes du Rhone that really blew me away. I’ve enjoyed this wine for many years but in the past 5 to 10 years, I have noticed a massive improvement in quality and style – and the price remains the same. That’s no mean feat.

Guigal is a large family owned Rhone Valley winery, which makes great wines from northern and southern Rhone Valley. The Cotes du Rhone may be entry level but great effort has gone into raising its quality over the past decade. This means that about three years’ worth of stock is held back to ensure quality remains consistent.

And, as mentioned above, the wine is now aged at the family owned winery facility in Ampuis in the northern Rhone, to allow the family full control of its aging process. The blend is a complex, consistent one too; 65% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre, which no doubt adds the body and oomph to this exceptionally tasty red wine.

The style is all about velvety smoothness, soft mouth feel and fresh fruit flavours with an interesting chocolatey twist. That would be the Mourvedre kicking in. Talk about a lovely red – and outstanding value at $19.99.

This wine sells its socks off so it barely needs promoting, but the facts and figures we learnt this month blew us away, explaining just why it tastes so consistent and so good.