The wonderful story of the Guigal family mirrors the glory of Côte-Rôtie wines. Founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal, Domaine Guigal comprises today a splendid portfolio of vineyards in a number of Rhône appellations, notably Côte-Rôtie and its famous La Turque, La Landonne and La Mouline vineyards.
Domaine Guigal was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in Ampuis, a small ancient village that is the cradle of Côte-Rotie wines. The village contains a unique vineyard where the vines and their product have been celebrated for 2400 years. Having arrived in the region as a 14-year-old in 1924, the founder made a total of 67 vintages in Côte-Rotie and at the beginning of his career he participated in the growth of the Vidal-Fleury Company. In 1961, and despite his young age, Marcel Guigal took over from his father who had suddenly been struck blind. In 1973, he was joined by his wife Bernadette and they worked together growing the family business. Their son Philippe, now the house oenologist, was born in 1975, and together with his wife Eve they represent the third generation to devote itself to the family business of producing some of the Rhône Valley’s greatest wines. Hard work and perseverance since 1946 have brought their rewards as is shown in certain key events, notably the acquisition of Vidal-Fleury in the middle of the 80s, since when the Company has remained technically and commercially independent.
In 1995 the famous Château d’Ampuis was acquired with its long wine-related history and its direct connection with the Côte-Rotie appellation. This XIIth century stronghold, which became a renaissance Château in the XVIth Century, nestles in the vines overlooking the king of rivers – the Rhone. In 2001, Domaine Guigal added a further jewel to its crown by acquiring the ancient Domaines of Jean-Louis Grippat in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage, and De Vallouit in Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. In the Ampuis cellars Domaine Guigal vinifies and matures both the northern Rhône wines and the greatest wines from the southern Rhône (Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône). In 2006 the Guigal family bought Domaine de Bonserine which it is helping to develop independently of the Domaine Guigal business.
Domaine Guigal owns certain illustrious parcels of Condrieu, which go to make ‘La Doriane’, among others. In the best years they produce the Ermitage ‘Ex-Voto’, and their white and red Saint-Joseph ‘Lieu-Dit Saint-Joseph’ and the famous red Saint-Joseph ‘Vignes de l’Hospice’ are reference wines. At Côte-Rôtie the Guigals own several prestigious vineyards such as the Côte-Rôtie La ‘Mouline’, which lies on the Côte Blonde, and which is well known for its shape, resembling a Roman amphitheatre. La Mouline, owned in its entirety, covers one hectare, 11% of which is planted with Viognier, a white grape imparting finesse and elegance. Annual production is 5,000 bottles. La Turque (one hectare, 4,000 bottles, 7% Viognier) is situated on the Côte Brune and is also owned in its entirety. The first vintage of this wine was made in 1985. The vineyard enjoys a fine south-facing exposition and a complex soil make-up consisting of schist and iron oxide, giving the wine finesse and power. La Landonne touches the Côte Brune (2.3 hectares, 12,000 bottles) and gives a deep, massive, structured wine, with strong fragrances, and which can be kept for many years. This vineyard is impressive to behold, with its steep 45° slopes. Lastly the Côte-Rôtie wine Château d’Ampuis comes from ancient vineyards which are also some of the finest in the Domaine Guigal holdings.
Since the summer of 2003, the GUIGAL estate, ever determined to improve its knowledge of wine and its environment, embarked upon a new adventure, a cooperage. This ancestral and artisan craft enables the estate to master an additional technique in a charming historic setting.
"In the past 26 years I have spent visiting wineries and vignerons, I have never seen a producer so fanatical about quality as Marcel Guigal." - R. Parker.