Robert Parker 91
Guigal’s Chateau d’Ampuis, which was launched in 1995, is nearly as spectacular as his single vineyard offerings (La Mouline, La Turque, and La Landonne). There are 2,500 cases of this offering, produced from a blend of hillside vineyards (La Garde, La Clos, La Grande Plantee, La Pommiere, Pavillon Rouge, and Le Moulin). The 1997 Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis was bottled a year ago and is now in the marketplace. Its dense ruby color is followed by gorgeous aromas of chocolate intermixed with road tar, cassis, smoke, and coffee. It is low in acidity, but ripe and concentrated with a voluptuous texture. This stunning Cote Rotie is more developed and forward than the 1995, 1996, or 1998. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2018. As I wrote last year, the cutting edge winemaking practiced by some of the most fashionable producers in France, was pioneered by Marcel Guigal several decades ago. Cold fermentation, extended maceration, minimum sulphur, malolactic in barrel, virtually no racking, and bottling without fining or filtration have been standard operating procedure at chez Guigal for decades. Importer: Fred Ek, Ex Cellars Wine Agencies, Solvang, CA; tel. (805) 686-9153
Anticipated maturity: 2004-2018
Medium ruby. Spicy aromas of blackcurrant, tobacco, gunmetal, tar and game. Rich, silky and sweet, but a bit subdued following the bottling and not currently showing its complexity. Finishes quite long, with very round, fine tannins. This was made from riper fruit than the ’95, noted Philippe Guigal, even if the ’95 was a more massive wine.