August 13, 2008

E. Guigal 2005 Côtes du Rhône Red, about $15

If you want a taste of syrah French-style, Guigal is your go-to brand. Centered in Côte Rôtie, just south of Lyon, the house is legendary for the syrahs it makes from the vines that grow on the vertiginous slopes of this Northern Rhône appellation. The most sought-after bottlings cost a small fortune; La Turque, La Mouline and La Landonne (or the “La La’s” in winegeek speak) are famous for their intense flavors and ability to age well for decades. But the winery has also increased its vineyard holdings throughout the Rhône over the last decade, and it buys grapes from select farmers. This allows the Guigals to produce some exceptional lower-priced wines, like the 2005 Côtes du Rhône, a deep, rich blend of syrah and grenache with a small splash of earthy, chocolate-dark mourvedre. At $15, it’s a bargain for a wine than not only tastes great but also tastes like it’s from a particular place. Grill up some lamb chops and you’ll be ready for a virtual trip to France.

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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