Guigal   La Mouline   Cote Blonde

2009 La Mouline - Cote Blonde

By Guigal

2009 La Mouline - Cote Blonde from Guigal, Rhone

The truth hidden in the bottle of 2009 La Mouline - Cote Blonde from Guigal is hardly a secret to the trained nose and seasoned palate. It is a standout vintage wrestled lovingly from the rugged landscape of the Rhone Valley by the reputed Guigal estate.


Elegantly embracing complexity

Sealed within every bottle is an affirmation of Guigal’s commitment to artistry and an uncompromising insistence on quality that wine investors have come to equate with this esteemed name. The 2009 vintage stands one step ahead of its peers, reflecting a year that produced one of Rhone's optimal harvests.

This red proffers up a symphony of aromas- dark fruits, violets and hints of spice. The tartness of blueberry is masterfully balanced with deeper notes of dark chocolate, resulting in an awe-inspiring depth and complexity.


A Vintage caressed by perfect weather

The weather of 2009 played into Guigal's hands perfectly. Warm, long summer days nurtured ripeness, while cooler evenings allowed grapes to retain vital acidity. This model climate crafted a wine with maturity yet vivacity, akin to the harmonious symphony that ensues when seasoned performers unite.

The touch of white Viognier grapes in the mix injects an invigorating freshness into these otherwise rich Syrah grapes providing a unique balance found only in the finest wines. On tasting, one can almost picture the stoic cobbled slopes at Cote Blonde producing this beautiful hybrid.

Expertly navigating from fragrant foretaste through a dynamic palate to a lingering finish, the 2009 La Mouline - Cote Blonde from Guigal is unmistakably an investible liquid asset that commands a rightful place in any serious wine portfolio.

As a uniquely expressive vintage emanating from the fertile Rhone Valley, this wine is a testament to Guigal's wine virtuosity. Just as an exquisite piece of classical music, its charms reveal themselves anew upon each encounter, ensuring an enchanting experience to its fortunate collector.

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Just as good, but made in a completely different style, the 2009 Cote Rotie la Mouline (which incorporates a whopping 11% of Viognier) offers an insane bouquet of roasted meats, toast, spice, caramelized meats, coffee bean and deep, concentrated and layered blackberry and cassis-styled fruit. As with the 2010, it has off-the-chart richness, a stacked mid-palate and a gorgeous polish to its tannin. Give it another 3 to 4 years and drink it over the following 2-3 decades. One of the reference point estates for top quality wines in the world today, the family run Guigal operation was created in 1946 by Etienne Guigal. Today, Etienne’s son, Marcel, and his son Philippe, are firmly in control here, and are without a doubt producing some of the most singular, sought after wines in the world. Due to the size of this tasting, I’ll keep my comments short, but the incredible quality coming from this operation is astounding, and a tasting here is always one of the highlights of any trip through the region. Furthermore, while a lot is said about the extended oak aging regime here, I don’t know anyone who tastes mature examples of these wines on a regular basis that still has any doubts about the genius going on here. In short, these single vineyard (and their blends as well) Cote Roties are some of the greatest wines money can buy. For this tasting (which, with the Guigals, is always a large one!), we focused on their Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospice release, and then three of their Cote Roties, starting with the classic Brune et Blonde, then the Chateau d’Ampuis, and finishing with their single vineyard La Mouline. Looking first at their Saint Joseph Vignes des Hospices release, it comes all from the incredibly steep (and picturesque) vineyard perched just above the town of Tournon. The exposure here (which is critical for Saint Joseph as the more southern facing the plot, the warmer the site is) is mostly east facing and the soils are pure granite (identical to the decomposed granite found in the Les Bessards lieu-dit on Hermitage Hills). Compared to the Saint Joseph lieu-dit, which has a slightly more southern exposure, harvest here is always 5-7 days later. Moving north to Côte Rôtie, the Guigal’s Brune et Blonde is their entry level release that comes from a mix of vineyards, most of which are estate. It drinks beautifully on release and has a solid 15-20 years of longevity in top vintages. Stepping up over the Brune et Blonde, the Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis is named after the Chateau d’Ampuis estate (which lies in the town of Ampuis, right up along the Rhone River, and was purchased by the Guigal’s in 1995) and is a blend of their top estate vineyards. Coming from La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin and La Viria, it spends close to four years in new French oak (handled just like the single vineyard releases) and there’s roughly 30,000 bottles produced in each vintage. While the single vineyard releases get all the buzz, this is isn’t far behind in quality, especially in recent vintages, and can represent an incredible value. We finished the tasting with a vertical of La Mouline. One of the three single vineyard Cote Roties produced, this cuvee comes all from the La Mouline lieu-dit that’s located in the more western (close to the middle actually) side of appellation. For simplicities sake, you could say it’s in the Cote Blonde part of the region, but in reality, Cote Rotie is much more complex and diverse. Due to its exposure, this vineyard is always the first of the three single vineyards to be harvest, and also contains some of the oldest vines on the estate. Fermented using pump overs (as opposed to punch downs for the La Torque and submersion cap on the La Landonne), it’s cofermented with varying degrees of Viognier, which in most vintages, ends up being around 10% of the blend. Like the Chateau d’Ampuis and the other two single vineyard releases, it sees close to four years in 100% new French oak, of which every trace integrates after a few years in bottle. It’s always the most approachable of the single vineyard releases, and is ready to drink at an earlier stage. For example, the 1999 La Mouline is gloriously mature, while the 1989 La Torque is still an infant. Nevertheless, as the 1978 reviewed here attests to, it has no problem evolving for decades (although I don’t recommend holding bottles that long). In short, this was a flight of Côte Rôties I’ll not forget anytime soon! Importer: Vintus Wines, Pleasantville, NY; tel. (914) 769-3000

Jeb Dunnuck - The Wine Advocate, 27 August 2014

Vintage performance