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Classic, juicy Côtes du Rhône best describes Guigal’s eminently drinkable 2006 Côtes du Rhône Rouge. With 50% Syrah as the wine’s base, it should come as no surprise that a mélange of red and black fruits dominate the aromatic profile of this wine. And on the palate crème de cassis flavors emerge from this hedonistic potion to meld with a seductive dollop of garrigue (the alluring scent and savor of Provencal brush and wild herbs) that characterizes the finest red wines of the Rhône. What are equally impressive are the hints of pepper and spice that fold surreptitiously into this wine’s soft, juicy center to lend length and complexity. All these attributes add up to one good drinking wine. Consume Guigal’s 2006 Côtes du Rhône now and over the next couple of years. We suggest drinking this Provencal beauty at cool room temperature in temperate weather and just slightly chilled (55° F) when temperatures rise above 80º F as is the custom in Provence.
Côtes du Rhône is one of the most versatile of all red wines. It has an affinity for a wide variety of cuisines and individual dishes as well as the proclivity to accompany the endless array of gastronomic delights that emerge from traditional Provencal kitchens. Cassoulet, roast leg of lamb, and spicy ratatouille are just a few Provencal staples that offer outstanding companionship to Guigal’s 2006 Côtes du Rhône Rouge. However, nearly all grilled meats and vegetables provide ideal accompaniments to this classic Côtes du Rhône as do many spicy fish dishes in tomato and garlic laden broths. For a simple, mid week treat we suggest pairing the 2006 Guigal Côtes du Rhône with beef or lamb burgers, meatloaf, marinated steaks, tomato and cream based pasta dishes, and pizzas any way you can envision them. The Provencal claim to having invented pizza (and there is some evidence to support this claim) may explain the proliferation of all kinds of thinly crusted pizzas in Provence. The myriad of delicious vegetable, cheese (cow, goat or sheep) and meat laden pizzas in Provence certainly underscore the wonder of this dish with a bottle or two of Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône. Enjoy!
Marcel Guigal has been called everything from “the man with the Midas touch” to “the planet’s greatest living winemaker.” Unquestionably, Guigal has earned the reputation for fashioning some of southern France’s greatest wines, as the plethora of favorable reviews and critical acclaims of his wines will attest but, perhaps, even more impressive is Guigal’s knack for consistency. Without fail, Guigal wines, red, white and even rose, are at the top of the charts in both good years and bad. Moreover, each of Guigal’s many fine wine offerings has become the yardstick by which all others are judged in their respective appellations.
From the antique village of Ampuis, the birthplace of the great Côte-Rôtie appellation, the burgeoning wine empire of Guigal has spread to every significant appellation in the Rhône Valley. Led by Marcel and his adept son and protégé, Philippe, the Guigals have sown success and quality far and wide, forcing less quality minded producers to improve their wines or perish. Although most notable of Guigal’s wines are the firm’s several Côte-Rôtie offerings, which are universally acknowledged to be the supreme examples from this ancient 2,400 year old vineyard that dates back to early Roman times, the Guigals excel equally with all of their Rhone offerings. The firm’s delicious Côtes du Rhône offerings – red, white, and rose – provide ample testimony to that fact. Guigal’s red Côtes du Rhône is consistently one of highest rated wines of the appellation. It contains a high percentage of old vine Syrah, a practice few other producers would even think to emulate, but it is just such practices, along with a consummate dedication to low yields and minimal intervention, which set Guigal apart.
What could be finer than a glass or two of the 2006 Guigal Côtes du Rhône and a plate of hand selected, international cheeses? Not much, especially when one considers Côtes du Rhône’s penchant for cheese. The juicy, vinous qualities of Côtes du Rhône propose an ideal partnership with traditional French, Italian, and Spanish cheeses. The most exquisite Chèvre (goat’s cheese), Port Salut and St. Paulin from France, Fontina from Italy, and Manchego cheese from Spain are just some of the superb cheese selections to savor with Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône. For more outstanding cheese accompaniments to this wine or to obtain information on expertly selected international cheeses to accompany a vast assortment of fine wines, please visit our Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club website at www.cheesemonthclub.com. Why settle for only one of life’s pleasures when you can have two?
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