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Must Buy Rhone

Sometimes Rare Wines don’t have to cost a fortune. Just arrived in Florida, and should be in our cellars by this Friday, are Magnums of 2015 Crozes Hermitage from Guigal.
For the first time ever Crozes-Hermitage is being bottled in magnums, and for the first time ever available in the US.
It’s important to note that most of Crozes-Hermitage is produced from the plains to the south and east of Hermitage, and these wines tend to be straightforward. Guigal’s approach is to make a more serious Crozes that while maintaining its approachability, has vigor, intensity and depth. In Guigal’s hands, Crozes becomes a wine that delivers quality and pleasure far beyond its price. Guigal first produced a Crozes-Hermitage in 1999 after the acquisition of low-yielding, hillside vineyards. Since then they have continued to purchase similar quality vineyards, exclusively on hillsides, on soils that tend to limestone, clay silt and sandy gravel, with vine age averaging 35 years. The vineyards are grouped in the north of the appellation, specifically around the villages of Gervans, Mercurol, Larnage and Crozes-Hermitage itself.

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E. Guigal has a rich history and is so well known that Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate credited the Guigal family as “This planet’s greatest winemaker.” Etienne Guigal was the youngest in his family and, in the early 1930s, landed in Ampuis when his family could no longer care for him. He picked apricots prior to obtaining a job at Vidal Fleury Vineyard at age 14. He started pruning in the vineyards and rose to Maitre de Chai (head steward) over the next 15 years. Etienne left Vidal Fleury in 1946 to begin his own company, E. Guigal.

Etienne’s son, Marcel, got involved early due to his father’s loss of eyesight in 1961. Marcel leads the company today, though it is very much a family run business, with Philippe, Marcel’s son, serving as Director and Oenologist.
 

*2015 Crozes Hermitage MAGNUMS
$58.50 per mag/$315.30 per case of 6 Mags

 

(Wine Advocate 90-92)
“The 2015 Crozes-Hermitage looks outstanding based on this sample. It boasts scents of crushed stone, black currants and blueberries, ample body an weight in the mouth and a velvety texture.”

 

(Jeb Dunnuck 92)
“The deep purple-colored 2015 Crozes Hermitage showed beautifully from barrel, and now from bottle. Black cherries, blueberries, peppery herbs, black olive and lots of rocky minerality all flow to a rich, beautifully concentrated, full-bodied Crozes that has terrific purity, a stacked mid-palate, and ripe, present tannin. It’s a very classic Crozes Hermitage that can be enjoyed today or cellared for 7-8 years.”

 

(Wine & Spirits Magazine 92)
“Savory Crozes, this smells like high summer-the scent of warm stones and dried grass mingled with honeysuckle and jasmine. It has Marsanne’s characteristic waxy, broad texture, with a little nuttiness from a splash of Roussanne in the blend. One part aged in stainless-steel tanks on the lees, the other in second-use barrels, it feels firm and well upholstered but not at all showy, lasting with a mouthwatering salinity.”

 

(Vinous Media 91)
“Bright violet. Spicy black and blue fruits, pungent flowers and a hint of smoked meat on the perfumed nose. Juicy and broad in the mouth, offering concentrated boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that become spicier as the wine opens up. The dark berry note lingers on the persistent finish, which is given shape by smooth, harmonious tannins.”