Candlelight photo of glass of wine and a bottle of E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune & Blonde de Guigal 2011.

E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune & Blonde de Guigal 2011

This is a superb, expensive wine — I paid $66 on sale — from E. Guigal (gee-gall), 96% syrah and 4% viognier. Cote-Rotie is at the north end of the Cotes du Rhone. Cote-Rotie is among the fanciest places for wine. If you are fancy-wine-curious, this is an awesome choice: complex, primal, sensual, and fairly easy to find at good wine stores or online.


Luscious beyond the 14% alcohol, the viognier boosts the richness of the feel. Acidity is almost non-existent. The tannin is noticeable. Mostly, though: there’s a *lot* of earthy, primal flavor.


This is an expensive wine, but the extra dollars are rewarded. There is so much flavor and body and structure going on that it’s hard to notice it all at once. Take a sip and meditate on it for a while.


Luscious from 14% ABV and the viognier. Tannin is noticeable but not overwhelming — it spent a lot of time in oak. Acidity is almost imperceptible.

[Editor’s Note: Coming Soon! Jazzy graphical display of the above.]


Some red fruit and oak, more dark fruit, and lots of spice, savory, and earthy flavors.

[Editor’s Note: Coming Soon! Jazzy graphical display of the above.]


Sexy! Intellectual. Persistent — how long after a sip do you still taste the wine when you exhale? A shockingly long time. A drop left in a glass was still wafting sensuality eight hours later.

Here’s what E. Guigal says:

Eye : Dark ruby red
Nose : Spices, red berries and delicate oak aromas
Palate : Round soft tannins. Aromas of rasberry, blackberry and vanilla
Overall : Balance between scarcely perceptible acidity and tannins which add ageing potential and softened by long ageing in oak

Here’s what Robert Parker says:

“Score : 91. The 2011 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde continues to drink beautifully. Kirsch, underbrush, spice and chocolate nuances all flow nicely to an elegant, seamless and hard to resist Cote Rotie that can be drunk anytime over the coming decade or more.” Jeb Dunnuck.

I buy all of that, but it doesn’t do justice to the primal earthiness.

Here is Karen MacNeil in The Wine Bible writing about Guigal Brune et Blonde:

“When I was just beginning my wine career, it was a Guigal Cote-Rotie, Brune et Blonde, (a blend of grapes from two vineyards evocatively named the brunette and the blonde), that convinced me that nothing on earth was quite as mesmerizing, as intellectually riveting as a great wine.”

(There’s a woman can write a sentence! Salut!)

And here she describes the northern Rhone wines in general:

“…for syrah planted there makes what are unquestionably some of the world’s most intense wines. Darkly savage and dramatic, they exude corruption, and almost pant with gamy, meaty, animal flavors. (Then there’s blood and offal. You can count on Rhone syrahs taking you down into realms of flavor that can’t be talked about in polite company.)”

I don’t know about blood or offal, but I definitely inhaled. I spent more than an hour one evening just smelling the aroma, with only the tiniest of sips. And then I spent more time exhaling through my nose, wondering how long it would take before the flavor dwindled.