Maison Guigal has been a figure of excellence in the Rhône for more than half a century. Their superb wines are crafted from grapes grown at the domain as well as fruit bought selectively from appellations across the region. Some of these cuvées have received great acclaim from top critics.
With its international renown and eminent status in the Rhône Valley, there may be little reason to introduce Guigal. Just to remind you, this is an estate that works with two fronts: the first is the vinification of its own grapes from parcels in the north of the region, and the second is their merchant business, purchasing grapes from southern appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, and Côtes-du-Rhône. The estate’s reputation has largely been built on its superb Côte-Rôtie, notably with its La-La-La trio of cuvées, as well as Condrieu and Hermitage wines.
A bit of history
Founded in 1946 at Ampuis by Etienne Guigal, Maison Guigal has since always been passed down into family hands, starting with Etienne’s son Marcel in 1961. Today, Philippe rules the roost, representing the third generation of vignerons and trained in oenology. The domain hasn’t stopped growing since the 1980s, when the family acquired the Vidal-Fleury estate, then Chateau d’Ampuis in 1995. The estate’s growing land covers all of the Rhône’s most prestigious appellations, with 75 hectares of vines in Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage in the north, and Gigondas, Tavel, Côtes-du-Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the south. The family’s dream of crafting Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines became a reality in 2017 thanks to their purchase of Château Nalys, a gem of 77 hectares known for its excellent terroirs and superb white wines. Here, they tend to the vines using organic methods, and the property is in the process of official conversion.
Artisanal spirit meets the viticulture of the future
As their family heritage was growing, they also decided to construct an artisanal cooperage of their own. Using fine-grained oak from French forests, the casks are made in a way that doesn’t mark the wines too strongly, but rather accentuates their aroma and lets them express their authenticity. Around 800 casks are produced here every year, an audacious move that ensures extra control over the final product, keeping the wine as in-house as can be! Alongside this is a robotic production method capable of bottling 12,000 cuvées an hour!
In terms of the estate’s philosophy, Phillipe Guigal says: “Beyond the cultural and heritage aspects of what we do, every attention is given throughout the life of the wine to craft something that brings great and sometimes unexpected enjoyment. A fine wine is best appreciated in moments of sharing and conviviality, and if this becomes a catalyst for emotion, then Maison Guigal has done its job with meaning.”