Owner: Marcel Guigal
La Landonne: 100% Syrah
La Mouline: 11% Viognier and 89% Syrah
La Turque: 7% Viognier and 93% Syrah
Guigal is the Northern Rhone’s leading negociant – and the force behind the Cotie Rotie’s illustrious “La Las”. The domaine was founded by Etienne Guigal – formerly of Vidal Fleury – in 1946. Etienne’s son, Marcel, began managing the Établissements Guigal in 1961, and after four successful decades in business, the family purchased Vidal Fleury in 1984.
It was around this time that the producer’s trademark cuvées found favour with the most influential of critics, Robert Parker. The domaine’s single-vineyard, low-production wines – La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque – were nicknamed the La Las and quickly became benchmarks of quality in the Cote Rotie. Their popularity injected the appellation with a salubrious dose of prestige and status, and played a large part in reviving interest in the Rhone as a leading wine-producing region. In recent years, the La Las are said to have received more perfect scores from Robert Parker than any other wines in the world.
Since the 1980s, Guigal has purchased vineyards in numerous appellations, including Saint-Joseph, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. Today, the domaine is synonymous with quality at all levels and is responsible for more than two-thirds of the Cote Rotie’s production.
The 2010 vintage
Jancis Robinson is one of the first major critics to have published scores for the 2010 vintage. Her tasting notes, which were posted only last week, suggest that the vintage is “exceptionally good” and an impressive follow-up act to the plump 2009s. Robinson awarded the La Las scores of between 18 and 18.5 points – led by La Mouline, which she dubbed “their La Tache”:
“Lots of heady appeal. Long with violets and liquorice on the nose and then lots of sinew on the finish. Extremely youthful.”
The broadening trend that we have seen this year has translated into price rises of up to 37 per cent for Guigal’s trophy wines. On average, the last five physical vintages of the La Las have risen in value by eight per cent year on year (a particularly commendable figure when compared with the 18 per cent fall of the Liv-ex Claret Chip Index). If we analyse the individual performances of the three leading labels, we find that the most expensive of the group – La Landonne – has recorded the largest gains. Over the last four weeks, La Landonne has accounted for a fifth of Liv-ex trade in Rhone wines, whilst the region as a whole has generated over six per cent of monthly exchange turnover – five times that of its 2011 average.
Guigal’s wines not only boast high scores, they are perceived to be low-risk options relative to their Bordeaux counterparts. And with plenty of well-priced stock available, there are bids and offers to suit all budgets. (Liv-ex trading members can view live markets here.) The table below shows the current prices, yearly moves and scores of the La Las’ most recent vintages.
All prices are for 12x75cl cases stored in bond. Scores from Jancisrobinson.com.