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February 24, 2015

Guigal Cote Rotie La Las 2011

Guigal.La.Las

We are delighted to be able to offer a small parcel of the new release 2011 vintage of the legendary Guigals; La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque; a trinity of single estate vineyards that have been collectively coined as the La Las. The La Las are some of the most sought after wines in the world, yet the combined production is a meagre 1,500 cases, making them virtually unobtainable in older vintages. Simply put the wines are the epitome of the Northern Rhone!

The 2011 Northern Rhone vintage is considered as good, with quality generally high. The growing season produced a very strong crop, with some rain in September preventing it from challenging the illustrious 2009 and 2010 vintages. Resultantly Guigal’s La Las are excellent, in particular Jeb Dunnuck describes the Landonne as ‘possibly the wine of the vintage, and another candidate for perfection’. However, what is most striking is the price on release. La Landonne 2010 which has 100 points, today trades at £1,700, the 100 point 2005, £2,000 and the 2003 £2,400, these all started their life-cycle with 98-100 points or lower before achieving the heralded perfect score. At £1,050 the 2011 offers an incredible opportunity to speculate, if it receives 100 points, it would jump over 60%. However, even the worst case scenario of 98 points would result in a price difference of £650 for two points, collectors are paying £300 extra per point, a telling statistic. This rings true also with La Mouline 2011 priced at £1,025 with 96-99 Points and La Turque, £975, 95-97 points, extremely compelling compared to their 2010 100 point counterparts which cost £1,700.

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Guigal’s La Las display a vintage premium, meaning they get more expensive as they age and supply decreases. It is also clear that 100 points creates an exponential price increase; from an investment perspective the 2011s offer a good opportunity to speculate. However, removing investment and speculation for a moment, from a drinking perspective one has to ask, is a 60% increase in price justified in the glass? The La Las are truly considered as some of the best wines in the world, anyone who has ever tasted them cannot help but be mesmerised by their power, balance and complexity; they have very few peers in the world of wine. They are also capable of ageing for 30 years and in vintages like 2010, 50 years plus. As such the 2011s will last a lifetime and despite their very high scores, their first release price means they can be secured at a large discount to the 100 point vintages. If one is looking to buy and drink in the future, this offers a wonderful incentive, of course, if these receive the high end of their possible score and the La Las always do, one can be very confident about taking a speculative position.

La Mouline 2011, 6×75 – £1,025 IB – 96-99 Parker Points
La Mouline, typically a blend of 11% Viognier and 89% Syrah, is renowned for being the most floral of three top wines. It is made from the oldest vines and is vinified differently to its siblings, using the pumping-over technique, instead of the punching down used by La Turque and immersed cap by La Landonne. Pumping over recirculates the fermenting juice over the cap without breaking it; punching down recirculates the fermenting juice over the cap thereby breaking it. This has the same effect as leaving a tea bag at the top of the pot, which means the tea is less aromatic and tannic.

La Landonne 2011, 6×75 – £1,050 IB – 98-100 Parker Points
La Landonne is 100% Syrah and the most tannic of the La Las. It has been produced since the 1978 vintage and the vines are now 35 years old, making it the big brother in terms of style.

La Turque 2011, 6×75 – £975 IB – 95-97 Parker Points
La Turque is typically a blend of 7% Viognier (which is co-fermented) and 93% Syrah. Stylistically it is described as an intermediate between La Landonne and La Mouline. La Turque, like La Mouline, is aged for 42 months in 100% new French oak, it is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The first vintage was in 1985 and comes from the youngest vines, which as Parker points out “puts a kink in the French myth that old vines are always the best.”

A Bit of History
In 1946 Etienne Guigal created the eponymously named wine house E Guigal. He oversaw a renaissance of the great Grand Cru appellation Cote-Rotie, which had been almost abandoned. He built his reputation around two extraordinary Cote-Rotie cuvees, the exquisitely structured La Landonne and the velvety, finessed La Mouline. In 1985 the polished yet boisterous La Turque was introduced, cementing the success of the house. Guigal has received more 100 point ratings for his La Las from Robert Parker than any other wine producer. La Landonne had seven perfect scores from 1985 to 2005, La Mouline nine from 1976 to 2005 and La Turque five from 1985 to 2005. In 2009 and 2010 all three La Las scored a perfect 100 points .

In 1961 Marcel Guigal, the son of Etienne, took over the Estate and is now considered one of the greatest wine-makers in the world, unequivocally demonstrating that Cote-Rotie must be present in the pantheon of the world’s leading wines.

La Landonne, 6×75 - £1,050 IB

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, La Landonne 98-100
Possibly the wine of the vintage, and another candidate for perfection, the 2011 Côte Rôtie La Landonne has a level of complexity and intensity that’s normally reserved for the La Mouline. Exhibiting thrilling notes of dried flower, olive, earth, rendered bacon fat and currant and blackberry-styled fruit, it has a massive core of tannin, yet more than enough fruit, texture and concentration to handle it. I suspect it will be relatively approachable by this cuvee’s standards, but should still dish out tons of pleasure for 2-3 decades. Drink 2019-2041

La Mouline, 6×75 – £1,025 IB 

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, La Mouline 96-99
Scheduled to be bottled early in 2015, the 2011 Cote Rotie La Mouline is more perfumed, exuberant and approachable than the 2010. It exhibits a crazy bouquet of spice-box, vanilla bean, spring flowers and sweet kirsch, cassis and black raspberry. Full-bodied, seamless and elegant, with sweet tannin, it will be hard to resist in its youth and have 2+ decades of prime drinking. Drink 2019-2031

La Turque, 6×75 - £975 IB – 95-97pts

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, La Turque 95-97
Offering more spice, cured meats, chocolate, cassis and vanilla bean, the 2011 Cote Rotie La Turque is more sexy and open-knit than the 2010, with full-bodied richness, sweet tannin and a hard-to-resist profile. It should start to shine at a relatively early age for this cuvee, but still have two decades or more of longevity. Drink 2018-2031

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