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The Wines

50-60% Syrah from the Gard département, 30-40% Grenache, 5-10% old Mourvèdre from Courthézon near Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from 550-850 domaines, as little as 50-100 hl per domaine sometimes, aged 60% vat, 40% large 50 hl barrels 12 months, unfined, filtered, 5-6 bottlings over 1 year, ten blends/bottlings, 2.0-4.0 million b

2018 ()

(bottling July 2021) very dark robe; sumptuous, full bouquet, replete with black cherry, sweet abundance. It’s all about the fruit and immediacy. The palate runs with engaging black fruits, cassis and blackberry notably, holds polished tannins that add their layer towards the finish, all well orchestrated, licorice on the aftertaste. This is a winner, easy to like, not overdone, full of joy. The length is fresh, and it’s amazing quality given the quantity made, testament to fine selection of harvest and expert blending skills from a very complicated year in the vineyards. 15°. 2030-32 June 2021


deep red robe, a matt tone to it. The bouquet expresses sweetness, stewed plum fruits, a hint of spirit. The palate takes a meaty angle on the attack, produces pepper at the mid-point, finishes on clove, floral notes, the tannins a mite dusty. It’s not a sequence as yet, and could be fresher. The finish is chewy, still backward. It will be fine with a side of red meat, but lacks the class of the 2016 – no surpise given a much drier vintage, and challenges on that score. It’s a typical grass roots 2017, thus. 14.5°. From spring 2022. 2029-31 March 2021


quite a dark red; the bouquet has sweet, filled airs of black fruits, doesn’t hold back – it’s on blackberry coulis, soaked fruits in style. The palate mingles gleaming blackberry fruit with licorice, blue fruit, dark chocolate, carrries a little late oak, tar. It’s a buzzy Côtes with depth on the second half that sets it up for red meat dishes. There’s a note of black olives, Southern moments, on the aftertaste. This is the fifth bottling, Oct 2019. It will be a little more fused from mid-2020. This is one of the Grands Vins of the Rhône Valley when you consider its quantity, its price and its character. A lot of wine for €7.50. 50% Syr, 45% Gren, 5% Mourv - which shows on the finish, menthol ping there. 14.5°. 2028-30 Dec 2019

2015 ()

red robe; brambly, wild berry fruit air on the nose, black fruit lozenges, raspberry, prune – there’s a ripe core to it, and it holds well. The palate presents mulberry, dark red fruits with soft content, polished tannins. It lengthens well, with a little southern kick on the close. The fruit comes with rather intense juice, which only emerges cautiously. This has a classic structure in that it gains as it goes. Great à table with beef. 14°. 50% Syr, 40% Gren, 10% Mourv. 2028-29 March 2019

2014 ()

has a mighty dark, intense robe. The bouquet surges forward on a wave of blackberry and cassis coulis, is striking, filled, evokes lines of fruit lozenges. The palate is a showy affair, delivers rolling fruits such as loganberry, blackberry, has a coated texture, is an ebullient Syrah-centric wine, dashes on to the finish, which brings in blueberry and licorice, black olives. It’s a black fruits fest, and will please for its generosity, and bang for the buck: party time beckons. Its second phase will turn more mineral, damp. It’s a heck of an achievement to design and fulfil a wine such as this in such large numbers, the more so given the tricky nature of the 2014 vintage. Bravo les Guigal Six! I know they were fast out of the starting gate to raid the best 2014 Syrah from the Gard for this wine. 2023-24 Nov 2017

2013 ()

bright red colour. The bouquet has hit post youth extra depth, has airs of plums, licorice, a rather sturdy nature, smokiness. The palate is marked by more overt Syrah this year given the immense oulure on the Grenache; it therefore presents blackberry fruit with a spine of licorice freshness. It drinks freely, with some tannic darkness on the close, which is nicely substantial. There is greater freedom in this than 10 years ago, stylistically. The length is good. 14°. 50% Syr, 45% Gren, 5% Mourv. 2 million bottles. 2024-25 June 2017

2012 ()

this is the first bottling of the vintage: dark red robe. The bouquet gives an air of soaked fruits and a sense of damp forest – it extols ripeness and the south. There is lively fruit here – this is vigorous and tarred, has a brewed black fruits flavour, and is still tannic late on, with spicing and crispness in the tannin. This is upright, quite mobile wine. As it stands, good with steaks. Or it will settle after two winters, and be up for dishes such as boeuf bourguignon. It is nicely frank, doesn’t hold back. The finish is where it needs time, for more roundness. 14°. 2023-24  Dec 2015


pretty full red robe. The bouquet gives a soaked cherries, abundant aroma; there is a damp soils, notably ripe nature to it. Do not serve this too warm, or it will become too heavy. The palate is coated with mulled red fruits, and takes on an extra note of darkness towards the finish, a tar-tannin infusion, there. Quite a Big Production. Drink with casseroles, red meats. 14°. 2020-21  Jun 2015 


(the 1st bottling in Jan 2013; usually 5-6 bottlings over a one year period) dark red. Supple, soaked cherries, abundant aroma with light dashes of prairie dust and powder. It is wide, and offers plenty of impact. The palate starts on a smoky, spice-herbs angle, a big roll of black fruit that mixes prune and blackberry. Its richness is sustained, with spice back on the agenda as it ends, with snaps of licorice also there. This gives a real bundle of flavour. The finish is fresh, racy, and it will be a little more gentle in 2014. Very deep. “We include Lirac in this, so see no need to issue a Lirac on its own,” Philippe Guigal. 14°. 2020-22  May 2013

2009 ()

full red robe; expressive, exuberant, immediate impact nose that mixes up black olives, running black fruit berries, is abundant, spiced and fresh. The palate comes in the same vein – lots of juicy, generous flavour, includes tar and licorice, is agile, which I find helpful thanks to the Mourvèdre. Fun drinking, has pace, rocks on, is long. Can extend and open further. Lively wine that can live, is a real rocker. “It is very marked Syrah; there is unusual youth here for our style – give it six months. It is a bit like 2005, but is more generous,” Philippe Guigal. 2023-24 Dec 2011

2008 No Rating


2007 ()

dark. Lying low, well-filled nose, licorice and dark berry airs. Black berries, blackberry jam flavour with tobacco, spice pockets. Has tarry later moments, a hint of dryness just before the finish. The attack is muscled. This has 2007 power inherent in it, is structured to live. There is a good long, consistent run through the palate. Has a solid nature, is still a bit closed up. Decant. 2021-23 Dec 2011


bright, full red. Good, racy nose – there is admirable intensity in its berries, also tints of licorice – it exudes energy. The palate fruit is live and persistent, open and fun. Has dynamic fruit – very attractive. Very good drinking, with late tannins, w.o.w. wine. Bottled two days ago. 50% Syrah, 45% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre. Great wine for the CHR trade – restaurants, bars etc. 2016-17 July 2010

2005 ()

full red colour, with some black tints. Has a black cherry, wide and crackly bouquet – the Grenache is secondary, and it is led by Syrah and Mourvèdre especially. Also shows prune and leather, but is fresh and wide. Good, bold and peppered fruit leads the palate, with a live line of tannin running through it. There are “dark” fruits here – blackberries mingle with tar, and it offers a lot for its “lowly” title – taste and dimension. There is good juice in it. You have to like tannins to appreciate this – they line the walls and lead to a clear, zappy, pepper aftertaste. From mid-2009. 2015-17 Dec 2008 “We adore the 2005s, and bought a lot of this, so the 2006 will be released only in July 2009,” Philippe Guigal. Previously Jan 2008 *** bright dark plum robe; black fruit with lurking potential on the nose, a bit of licorice in the black berry – not yet fully open: good, dark fruits inside here. The palate holds black fruit with some ingrained richness, is a wine that travels straight along. Has a sound tannic spine. Is good for food, and holds sound juice at its heart. Fresh on the finish, its tannins are well judged. 2016-18 Jan 2008 “A lot of wine from the Plan de Dieu and Lirac and Vacqueyras this year,” Philippe Guigal.

2004 ()

dark red robe; blackberry jam, cassis in an open nose that is bouncy and vigorous, plus some raspberry crème. Juicy, pretty black fruit on the palate, this juiciness is really beau. Can drink solo, rocks on and is a fab wine bar offering. Late tannin mingled with black berry fruits, and a nice fresh finish. Allez, Marcel! w.o.w. wine (what one wants). Jan 2008 Previously Dec 2006 *** cherry fruit aroma, black fruits and licorice, too. Plenty of black fruit on palate, is a declaring wine. Quite thorough, with a chewy finale. Gives a nice kick if drunk early. The Mourvèdre helps its structure as a young wine. 2011. Dec 2006. “I find its fruit vibrant, and would give it a life of five to eight years,” Philippe Guigal.


black jam aroma dominates the bouquet; chewy, scented black fruits, and the length is sound, too. Drink quite early. 2010. Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 *** prune, smoky aroma, with violets, black jam. Blackberry taste, nicely shaped wine, flecks of mineral towards finish, which is clean. Laurel, mint aftertaste. Best young. Good for its category. 2010-11 April 2006