Guigal: “quality is astonishing from 2013”

19th November, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

Philippe Guigal has described this year’s fruit from the northern Rhône as “astonishing” in quality, in sharp contrast to reports of a problematic vintage in the southern part of the valley and elsewhere in France.

Philippe Guigal

Philippe Guigal

When asked about 2013’s harvest in the northern Rhône, where Guigal’s winery and négociant business is based, winemaker for the company Philippe Guigal initially told the drinks business that his views on the vintage were anomalous.

“You will hear an answer from me that he won’t hear from many,” he began, warning that his feedback was very different from others in the region.

He then added, “We are more than very happy, the quality is astonishing from 2013.”

Continuing he said, “But we will have to shout loud, because we are on an island… the southern Rhône is not the same.”

Noting that 2013 was a late vintage in the northern Rhône, he said that there was “no spring and no beginning of summer”, but, thankfully, “then came the heat”.

Due to a poor start to the growing season, which pushed the ripening process as much as one month behind average, Guigal recorded that by late August the potential alcohol in the grapes was a low as 8%. “We were panic stricken,” he said.

But then, “a combination of low yields and a very fine September meant the vintage was saved.”

Indeed, he said that his white grapes from Condrieu and St Joseph were picked with a potential alcohol of 14.5% and 14% respectively, while the reds from the northern Rhône were harvested with over 13%, and he stressed, “with phenolic ripeness”.

Unusually he noted that the grapes from Côte-Rôtie ripened faster than those from Hermitage, when normally “it is the other way round.”

Speaking of the whites, he told db that the wines “will be extremely pure”, with “higher acidity than usual” due to cold nights during September.

As for the reds, he was unable to draw any comparisons with previous vintages, commenting, “they are unlike anything else I’ve vinified myself,” before noting that “the must is black” and the wines are “big”.

Continuing he said, “2013 will be powerful, dense with a good structure”, characters he attributed to the size of the berries, which were “very small” giving a high quantity of solids compared to the amount of juice, and as a consequence yields were as much as 25% lower than average in the northern Rhône.

Also key to the quality recorded by Guigal was lucky timing when it came to harvesting.

“We finished the harvest on Tuesday 15 October and then, on Wednesday, the rain came, and after the rain it would have been far more difficult.”

Considering the vintage in the southern Rhône however, Guigal said it “was not the same”, recording that the Grenache suffered from a lot of coulure (failure to set fruit) and was a “bit diluted” as the grapes were harvested after the rains.

On the other hand the Mouvèdre and Syrah “ripened well”, he said.

Similarly, Maison M Chapoutier wrote in a vintage report that Grenache in the southern Rhône was “heavily affected” by coulure due to unusually cool temperatures during flowering in May, while thundery weather in July and a fairly dry August led to a “slower rate of growth and ripeness”.

The producer also said the wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape show a “fruity Pinot-type character, typical of the Grenache in a late vintage.”

As for its wines from the Northern Rhône, the red grapes were described as having “excellent health”, and Michel Chapoutier himself said his single-vineyard wines “will reveal great surprises this year”.

As for the whites, he commented that they “almost show a Burgundian balance, which does not bother me at all.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager – London On-Trade

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Customer Service & Sales Support Executive

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Market Insight Analyst

Conviviality PLC
London, UK

Technical Manager

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more