E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne 2018
A 5.7 acre site planted entirely with Syrah, Guigal’s La Landonne has been produced since 1978, after being planted in 1975 at the time of Philippe Guigal’s birth. Guigal acquired the vineyard from numerous small owners, building their holding parcel by parcel over a decade. The vineyard is one of the steepest of the Côte Brune, a 45 degree slope of limestone clay very rich in iron oxide. La Landonne is at the northern end of the Côte Brune and is the last vineyard to ripen, consequently its stems achieve full maturation and grapes are never destemmed.
The wine is continuously pumped over, and alcoholic fermentation and maceration last around 4 weeks. Aging is for 42 months in new oak barrels made at the Chateau d’Ampuis cooperage. La Landonne is typically the most tannic, structured, powerful and intensely concentrated of the Guigal single-vineyard Côte-Rôties. It has great aging potential.
Lastly, the 2018 Côte Rôtie La Landonne is pure magic in the making and lends credence to the suggestion that Côte Rôtie is the shining star in 2018. The typical 100% Syrah aged in new French oak, it has a pure, vivid bouquet of blue fruits, wood smoke, charred meats, and graphite. While it’s unmistakably La Landonne with its meaty, masculine style, it has stunning purity of fruit. This massive, full-bodied, monster of a barrel sample is going to require patience
Station Plaza Wine
Another candidate for perfection, the 2018 Cote Rotie La Landonne has more of everything. More spice, more florals, more dark fruit, more concentration, more length—you get the idea. Violets accent black cherries in this full-bodied wine, which must be the easiest (98 - 100) rating I've ever given. Tasting at Guigal is always one of the highlights of my Northern Rhône trip. Because of the family's breadth of production and hallmark long élevage, it provides a chance to look at several vintages together, along with commentary from the knowledgeable patriarch, Marcel Guigal. This year, I was joined by Marcel, his son Philippe and Jacques Desvernois, hired away from Jaboulet in the summer of 2018, for a five-hour marathon in the chilly cellar beneath the company's headquarters in Ampuis. Despite the cool temperatures, there were smiles all around at the quality of the samples on the table. "Global warming has been fabulous for the Northern Rhône," said Marcel at one point
Aromas of ripe dark fruits, exotic flowers, smoked meat and olive paste pick up intense spice and pipe tobacco notes as the wine opens up. Stains the palate with concentrated black currant, bitter cherry, candied violet and dark chocolate flavors that are energized by building spice and mineral flourishes. Plays richness off energy with a deft hand and finishes extremely long and precise, delivering steadily mounting tannins and resonating floral and mineral notes