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Traditionally dominated by Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc, Guigal has begun to supplement his cepage for white Côtes du Rhone with significant proportions of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel cuves, the 1999 Guigal Côtes du Rhone Blanc constitutes Marcel's greatest effort yet in this category. Using 40% Viognier in the final offering, this great estate has fashioned a medium dry white, which is both lush and aromatic. The entrancing scents of honeysuckle and peach define the heady bouquet and infuse the flavor of this fresh, in your face offering. Although seemingly medium-bodied, the Guigal Côtes du Rhone is heady stuff, masking its muscle and high alcohol behind the richness of flowers, pear, kiwi and minerals. Enjoy this lovely, dry Côtes de Rhone Blanc moderately chilled.
Spicy appetizers, grilled fish and highly charged Asian preparations, all complement the 1999 Guigal Côtes de Rhone Blanc. We have especially enjoyed salads, prepared with grilled salmon, tuna or grouper in the company of this Côtes du Rhone. Grilled chicken, served over a complex mélange of greens and fruit, most notably strawberries, also makes for a splendid pairing. We suggest that you try a true Bouillabaise or Cioppino, too. The dry but lush flavor of this wine lends itself to rich tomato-based recipes, and other cantankerous wine bashing foods. The 1999 Guigal Côtes du Rhone Blanc also makes for a great summer party wine. Enjoy!
Marcel Guigal, the present guardian of this great estate, has been called the "planet's greatest living winemaker", "a genius", and "the best eleveur in France". So who are we to argue? Founded in 1946 in the one horse town of Ampuis, by Etienne Guigal, Marcel's father, E. Guigal is both a domaine as well as a negociant. The firm is best known for its other worldly estate Côte Rotie bottlings and its splendid negociant Côtes du Rhone series, wines which are widely recognized as among the best wine values in the world. How can anyone argue against ultimate quality, and value, too? Nearly every wine that Guigal produces becomes the benchmark by which all others are judged, especially in the south of France, along the swift moving Rhone, where Grenache, Syrah and Viognier reign supreme.
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