What with a couple of Barossa Grenache/Shiraz blends under my belt in the last few days, I thought it was time to return to the source with this reasonably priced wine. For a large production wine, the Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge seems to attract its fair share of enthusiasts’ attention. It has a reputation for over-delivering at its price point, and of responding well to some bottle age.
I tasted over two nights, as it was somewhat impenetrable initially and remained so through the first evening. Tonight, it’s still quite dense and brooding, but is revealing enough of its character to facilitate enjoyment and, more pertinently for me, explication. A nose that is both floral and inky, with black fruits, some very ripe black pepper and prickly, appealing minerality or perhaps tar. It’s all very tight and coiled, yet seems to me well balanced (for what it is).
The palate initially promises more generosity, and in a sense delivers this, but fundamentally remains quite tight. Wisps of sweet black fruit escape the wine’s predominantly savoury flavour profile before being dragged back into a mêlée of tar, pepper and puckeringly dry tannin. Before the tannin takes over, though, a silky smooth mouthfeel briefly registers and promises fine textural development. Flavour is reassuringly intense, and the structure seems especially well sorted, with good continuity throughout the wine’s line, and a lengthy, dry finish.
Despite its youth, I’m enjoying the quality and elusiveness of this wine and am contemplating the purchase of a few bottles to cellar over the medium (to perhaps long?) term. I want to see what unfolds with the persuasiveness of time.
Date tasted: October 2008