"Tasting the 2007s out of bottle has confirmed my thoughts – this is a truly historic and profoundly great vintage." - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (Issue #185)
You might be wondering if we've put the wrong quote above. Nope, this was part of Robert Parker's summary of the 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhône (published in October, 2009). Why are we talking about 2007 when most of the market is selling 2011's? Because the 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is Guigal's current release!
There are good reasons for this. Guigal gives his top wines extended elevage (longer wood/tank aging). This practice has been emulated by some of the most sought after California 'cult' wineries such as Alban, Saxum, and Sine Qua Non. Parker explains, "Time and time again I have seen light vintages that seem vegetal and disappointing become concentrated and taste far better through extended elevage."
Such is not the case here as 2007 is an exceptional vintage. This 2007 Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape is composed of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and 5% of "other" Rhône varietals. According to Parker, this is "One of the finest Chateauneufs made by Guigal". This lively Châteauneuf has plenty of black and red fruits mixed with Herbes de Provence and that textbook Southern Rhône garrigue. The extended elevage has given this weighty wine a supple, creamy mouthfeel and allowed the nose to develop some nuance.
It's quite the juicy drink at six-years-old, but it can easily cellar for another decade (and more). As you can see below, it caught the attention of the major critics. Parker confesses that "It is amazing that Guigal can consistently produce a wine of this majesty." To sum it up, this is an acclaimed Châteauneuf from "a truly historic" vintage, with some bottle age, made by a legendary producer, and sells for under $40. This is clearly a no-brainer! Good hunting.