2007 E. Guigal, Saint-Joseph AOC Rouge, Vignes de L’Hospice, Northern Rhone, France.
A very elegant and seductive maturing Saint-Joseph by Giugal that is far from being peaked out and an excellent value for the quality on offer with pure Syrah and terroir character in the glass with fine aromatics, rewarding viscosity and depth on full display. The palate for this 2007 Vignes de L’Hospice is heading for a silken, ripe and Burgundy like gracefulness with secondary elements folding in nicely with Giugal’s signature fruit density, showing crushed blackberry, damson plum, fig, kirsch and creme de cassis along with subtle earthy/meaty tones, truffle, mocha, peppery spices, bay leaf and anise accents all playing supporting roles with typical Giugal polish and poise, this is very joyous stuff. There’s nothing much to complain about here and this bottle was a crowd pleaser and with its light violet perfume, touches of graphite, cola bean, sweet wood and grilled herbs performed beyond my own expectations, and I huge Northern Rhone Syrah enthusiast, so I was gratefully thrilled to try this wine, and I hope to try some of the more recent and or current versions soon.

One of the most famous producers in the world and a leader in their home region, noted for their awesome Cote-Rotie offerings, Giugal is noted for their luxurious style throughout the collection, which includes this beautiful and rare bottling of Saint-Joseph Vignes de L’Hospice, which Giugal says is cultivated on a unique geological formation close to the famous ‘Colline des Bessards’ in Hermitage, this Saint-Joseph having all the elegance of its appellation, but with the powerful structure of its more illustrious neighbor facing the Rhone River. The plots used for this wine are all steeply sloped vines, 100% Syrah, on meager granite based soils with a vine age range of 20 to 80 years old that provides this wine’s deep concentration and complexity. Giugal, never shy with wood aging, employs a 30 month elevage here and this Saint-Joseph saw exclusively new oak barrels, which adds to the smooth texture and gives a sweet toastiness, but fades beautifully as the wine ages in bottle, making it a seamless effort that has plenty of fans. The winery typically uses 100% de-stemed grapes and a temperature controlled fermentation taking place in stainless steel, after which it sees a gentle pressing to the barrels, with everything done to promote clean, less rustic nuances in Giugal’s top small lot Saint-Joesph, which I highly recommend, especially with age on them.
($80 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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