1994 Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde

Coming down to the last of my 1994 Guigal mid-priced Cote Rotie and Hermitage. Bought pretty cheaply at release, these were good wine values. The 1994 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde has been very nice over the last couple of years, but I think it’s time to drink up. Still deep red, there’s a hint of orange and the nose was muted on this bottle. I’ll try the Hermitage next week and see if I think that’s generally true over the mid-priced bottlings. The Cote Rotie has a meaty spicy aroma, but still a bright citrusy high-toned note and some floral hints (usually from the small amount of Viognier in CR’s).

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  20. Mark,

    I did try the Hermitage 94, as I mentioned in the original post, and it was more robust than the Cote Rotie. Still had plenty of life in it, a bit of a wild lilac floral note on top of dark sweet blackberry or something like that. Nice wine. When I originally bought them the regular Guigals were in the 30’s, and a great bargain. Now they’ve gotten expensive and I no longer buy them. Another value bites the dust.

  21. Thanks! Hugely helpful information :)

  22. Mark,

    Wines from the Rhone River Valley in France are divided up into a fairly large number of classifications. Cotes du Rhone is the largest and most generic of these, and generally refers to wines from the southern (and less commonly) northern Rhone valley that aren’t made from grapes grown in a “more specific” appellation or village.

    For example, grapes grown in and immediately around the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone Valley (just north of Avignon), make wines that can be labelled “Chateauneuf-du-Pape.” Once you’re outside this area, however, the grapes fall into the more generic “Cotes du Rhone.”

    Intermediate between the most generic class, “Cotes du Rhone” and specific named appellations are the “Villages”, which are specific villages within the Cotes du Rhone area which have gained the right to label their wines with the name of the village as well: Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet, for example, from the village of Sablet to the east of Orange.

    So…the wine I posted a note for is from the appellation of “Cote Rotie,” which is in the northernmost Rhone River Valley, just south of Lyon. Cote Rotie is a small area on the west bank of the Rhone river, near the village of Ampuis. The wines are Syrah, with a small amount of white Viognier allowed in the blend which often gives Cote Roties a hint of a floral note. The wines are spectacular and age well — for example, the Guigal single-vineyard Cote Roties from 1985 are still going strong (if stratospherically priced), and I generally don’t drink them for 8-10 years.

    In general, much of the Cotes du Rhone you see on the market is grown in the southern Rhone Valley, in and around the Avignon-Orange area. The wines are dominantly Grenache-based, with lesser amounts of Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, and about 10 other grapes. The grenache gives it a bright cherry spiciness, the Syrah a black dark fruit core, and other grapes add some complexity. Northern Rhone valley wines are almost exclusively made from Syrah, and in the named appellations like Hermitage, the blend will be 100% Syrah. There *are* Cotes du Rhone wines from the northern Rhone, from the slopes between villages, and these can be blended from the same large pool of grape varieties but are often Syrah…for example, Domaine Clape (from Cornas) makes a Cotes du Rhone which is all Syrah, it’s reasonably priced and it’s superb — but a very different experience than Cotes du Rhone from further south.

    OK…that may have been too much information, but I hope it helps.

  23. Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what is the difference between what you’re describing in the above and a Cotes du Rhone, which is a wine I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit of late?

    (Though I am on more of a Scotch kick at present, but still, it never hurts to learn *grin*)