You may not recognize this guy, but he’s pretty much a rock star when it comes to the wine world. There are not many wines that I would drive 2 hours to get to – let alone for an hour and a half tasting with no lunch – then get in my car and make it back for in time for dinner.
But that’s exactly what I did with our in-house somm Patrick Travis and restaurateur Matthew Curtis from Union City Grille a few weeks ago. Yup that’s 4 hours of driving for 1 ½ hours of tasting… it’s kinda like standing in line all morning and afternoon to get into the Tongue Pit at a 2 hour Rolling Stones show. Some things just don’t make sense to others, but when you have a passion sometimes you do some pretty stupid stuff.
So when the three of us walked into the classroom-style tasting (late of course) my heart immediately started palpitating. Not sure if it was because I was in the presence of one of the greatest winemakers on the planet, or the fact the bouquet of his stellar wines were filling the room. I managed to make it to my seat without embarrassing myself, Pat or Matt.
There I sat totally distracted by undoubtedly the best lineup of wines from the Rhone Valley sitting right in front of me. As this 3rd generation winemaker spoke of his family’s heritage I realized that just about everyone in the room was taking notes in front of their untouched glasses. WTF. Why was this guy torturing me? Sorry, Philippe Guigal… I’m tasting!
Yes, I did the unthinkable.
I went against classroom protocol. I ignored wine tasting etiquette. I selfishly raised a glass of one of the greatest white wines in the world right in front of the guy who produced it. It was the Guigal 2012 La Doriane Condrieu and it was pretty freakin’ awesome!
Philippe Guigal saw me raise my glass and commented “well, perhaps we shall taste as I speak of my wines.” You’re welcome, class. For the next hour and a half Philippe took us through 10 of his best wines including the outrageous “La La Wines” as they are affectionately referred to by wine enthusiasts throughout the entire world. These are the 3 wines that I really made the trek for… the insanely young, ridiculously rare, and highly collectible Cote Rotie single vineyard wines: La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque.
I’m humbled to say that FranksWine is the sole wine merchant in Delaware that gets an allocation of the La La’s… no sense in me talking about them here to further hype them up, we’ll sell every drop we get despite the quickly-approaching $1,000 per bottle price tag.
Flashback 11 years in New York City. 2002 was the year that Philippe’s father, Marcel Guigal, had his 1999 Chateauneuf-du Pape named by The Wine Spectator as Wine of the Year. I was fortunate enough to grab his ear for a bit, get a photo with him and have him sign a bottle of his famed CdP! Yup… I’m pretty much a stalker when it comes to great winemakers.
Brian Growney will be here on North Union Street Saturday from 12 noon to 4 pm pouring this foursome. We’ll have the wines paired with a layout of French cheeses, pâté, charcuterie, spreads, flatbreads and crostini from our DiBruno Bros section! Can’t make it Saturday? Pop in Sunday from 12 noon to 4 pm and we’ll repeat it all!
Guigal 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape
Classic CdP blend of the kitchen sink including Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre and a touch of Viognier. Barrel aged in French oak for 24 months then held in the bottle at the winery for an additional 18 months before release. Deep dark red color with spices and mature red fruits on the nose. On the palate are round tannins with powerful complexity. A rich unctuous wine with notes of mature plums, hazelnuts and red fruits. Incredibly rich wine full of harmony and balance.
Guigal 2010 Saint Joseph
100% Syrah from the region named Saint Joseph. Practically opaque in color with a tinge of violet on the glass rim. The wine spends 16 months in 2nd year French oak barrels giving it just a hint of soft oak with red berries dominating the nose. Despite it’s powerful attack it finishes round with supple tannins. Philippe said he “never conducts a Guigal tasting without showing my Saint Joseph.”