Rhone — Guigal Gigondes Rouge 2011
The Rhone Valley, known as Cotes du Rhone, stretches from the town of Lyon all the way to Avignon, 125 miles to the south. In the north, fine wine of outstanding quality is to be found and in the southern reaches, a great variety of wines exist —some fine and some not so outstanding. Unlike many French wine regions, the climate is more constant. The soils are stoney and mainly granite based. It is an ideal climate for wine grapes. Mainly red wines are produced and Guigal is one of the prominent names that is easy to find at the wine store.
The Guigal Gigondes Rouge is a good expression of the Grenache grape. An intense purple color, clean and bright, meets the eye with beautiful appeal. There are layers of flavor: peach, apricot, licorice, toast, and cedar with a touch of arugula and earth in a racy structure. Smooth tannins, moderate acids and a long finish conclude the interesting journey. Minerality forms this wine’s foundation and signals its origin. It is a food wine and a pleasant diversion from some of the New World wines.
Compare what the Guigal Grenache offers to a Shiraz from McClarenvale: Fleurieu South Australia, Two Hands Angel’s Share 2012.
A rich, deep, gorgeous nose introduces this wine with a drum roll. Eucalyptus, sage, blackcurrant, juicy red fruits, sweet tobacco, vanilla, milk chocolate, cream and leather are among the aromas that assail your senses with an obvious appeal to angels and humans. It is a deep magenta and well extracted. Everything holds together in a soft, silky texture.
If you want a luscious gustatory experience, no food is necessary but grilled meats would round out the taste. These two wines are very different. Form your own judgements and remember: we are not comparing apples with apples, but we are comparing two great experiences — one from the Old World and one from the New World.