2006 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Expert Ratings
ST 92 points
RP 91-94 points
(Read the full reviews below)
 
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Philippe Guigal La-La-La in Chateauneuf

They're three of the most sought-after bottles on the planet, each fetching close to $700 at auction. In the trade, we call them "the La-La's." The first is "La Mouline," drawn from a steep hillside amphitheater in the high ground of Cote-Rotie. The second is "La Landonne," planted entirely to Syrah on a backbreaking 45-degree slope. The last bears the name of "La Turque," due to its warm southern exposure and one-of-a-kind soil mix of schist and iron oxide.

But, even as the Guigal family continues to raise the bar to northern Rhone heights never imagined by a young Etienne Guigal in 1946, more and more, it's in the southern Rhone that young Philippe Guigal is writing the family's most riveting new chapter.

In September 2012, after 24 months in oak puncheons, and two years in bottle in the family's frigid cellars, Etienne's grandson finally released the long-awaited 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. An assemblage of 80% 50-year-old vine Grenache coupled with a rich, savory core of La-La-like Syrah, this exquisite, perfectly-aged Chateauneuf speaks volumes to the Guigals' resolve and patient cellar protocol.

Robert Parker first alerted collectors to the majesty of Guigal's 2006 way back in October 2007. Tasting the wine from barrel, more than a year before bottling, RP marveled at the "voluptuous texture, superb density and richness." Just a year later, The Wine Advocate upped the ante, lobbing on a 91-94 point score. Bottling would occur several months later.

In October 2010, Parker piled on, reminding readers that Guigal's greatest bottles are slow to unwind, the non-interventionist cellar practices retarding oxidation, magnifying aging potential.

At the time, those of us who have long followed the work of the Rhone's First Family were frustrated by Parker's adjectival rant. The Advocate spoke of "dark plum/ruby/purple-tinged color and a big, sweet kiss of creme de cassis, kirsch, cedar, spice, and balsam wood…outstanding intensity, full-bodied power, and a long, rich, silky finish … should drink well for a decade!" Not long after, Stephen Tanzer piled on with a 92-point rave. That was all well and good, but when exactly was Philippe Guigal planning on letting the rest of us in on Parker and Tanzer's little secret?

On the eve of lusty Parker and Tanzer reviews, most in the Rhone hasten to ship their wines while the iron is hot. As to the Guigals, they could seemingly care less. The 100pt La-La's are generally released five years after harvest! The same would be true of the stunning 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape not a bottle of which would set sail for the US until September 2012!



Tasting Notes

2006 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape
"Bright ruby. Sexy, perfumed aromas of raspberry preserves, potpourri and Asian spices, with a touch of anise in the background. Juicy and appealingly sweet, showing very good depth and vivacity to its red fruit and floral pastille flavors. Picks up a smoky quality with air and finishes with excellent clarity, silkiness and length. This is already drinking very well."
92 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

"The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape, which has been released, is a winner. This is an underrated vintage, sandwiched between two greater years, 2005 and 2007, but it is certainly a top vintage that is probably being discounted by retailers. This wine has a dark plum/ruby/purple-tinged color and a big, sweet kiss of creme de cassis, kirsch, cedar, spice, and balsam wood. With outstanding intensity, full-bodied power, and a long, rich, silky finish, it should drink well for up to a decade."
91 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, October 2010

"The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape offers sweet kirsch liqueur, garrigue, loamy earth, and spice characteristics in a deep, broad, substantial style. This evolved Chateauneuf will be drinkable upon release, and should last for 10-12 years. "
91-94 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, October 2008

"The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape, which is still in foudres and tanks, is a wine based on 85% Grenache and the rest Syrah and Mourvedre. The wine tips the scales at 15% natural alcohol, and is a beautifully rich, full-bodied Chateauneuf du Papes that are authentic expressions of the appellation. Lavender, pepper, and gorgeously sweet blackberry and cherry fruit soar from the glass of these full-bodied, voluptuously textured wines that have superb density, richness, and length. The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape is charming, sensual, and hedonistic, without the tannin and structure of its older sibling. It is a brilliant example of Chateauneuf du Pape, which says so many noteworthy things about Guigal's buying and blending skills."
91-93 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, October 2007


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