Hermitage Blanc 2018
Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expressiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, but Hermitage Blanc is one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley. Composed primarily of Marsanne (95%) and small amounts of Roussanne (5%), it is relatively rare, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC.
This is a rare wine, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC. The Marsanne (95%) Roussanne (5%) fruit is harvested from old vines between 30-90 years of age. Various blocks are planted on granite limestone, clay loam and sandy gravel topsoils on the famous granite mother rock, which yields wine of tremendous structure.
Yields are under 2.3 tons per acre, requiring extremely judicious farming.
Temperature controlled fermentation, between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the wine ages for 24 months in second year barrels.
2018 is shaping up to be one of the truly great vintages in the Northern Rhône valley. Following a very wet Spring, Summer was dry and hot – the warmest vintage since 2003.
Harvest was quick and early, and Guigal harvested the white Hermitage on September 12th. Yields were slightly above average, but the fruit was uniformly ripe, and the structure of the Heritage was perfect for the extended élèvage Guigal prefers. The resulting Hermitage Blanc is dense and concentrated, with exceptional length and excellent acidity – perhaps the greatest vintage for this wine since the 1990.
The eye is greeted with a consistent straw yellow wine. A complex nose follows, with dominant floral vegetal notes and acacia honey; overall, elegant and shows notes of the delicate oak. The palate is spic, with good structure demonstrating the ability for ageing. Overall, elegantly balanced and with deep complex aromas characteristic of these rare white wines.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Advocate -
"Full-bodied and expansive on the palate, Guigal's 2018 Hermitage Blanc exhibits scents of toasted marshmallow, grilled pear, candied citrus and fennel fronds. Round and mouthfilling, it may be drunk now with considerable pleasure for its weight and sheer lusciousness, but lovers of aged Rhône whites will want to set aside a bottle or two for 10 years or so."
Jeb Dunnuck -
"Plenty of quince, crushed stone, and white flower notes emerge from the 2018 Hermitage Blanc, a rich, medium to full-bodied white Hermitage. It has a kiss of toasty, nutty notes, but otherwise has completely absorbed its time spent in barrel. Beautifully done, this textured, layered white is going to evolve for two decades or more."
Other Wines by this Producer
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône's production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley.
The Guigal family has made serious dry rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also serious and satisfying. While this Rosé is always a lovely aperitif, its intensity and richness make it perfect for the table, and it pairs well with all manner of cuisines. And starting with the 2020 vintage, the wine has a stunning new proprietary bottle: a subtle enhancement for an already elegant wine!
Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. The reds, which are the majority of production, have wonderful warm flavors of red and black fruit, and typical Syrah pepper, spice and savory notes.
Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expresiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Guigal’s Gigondas is an incredible introduction to serious Southern Rhône reds, and a show-stopper at the price. In the hands of Guigal, the rich ripe fruit and savory character of the wine bursts with sheer pleasure, yet the wine displays terrific refinement, complexity, length and ability to age.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône.
Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, producing small quantities of extraordinarily intense and ageworthy red wine and tiny amounts of dry white. The entire vineyard consists of 309 acres planted on a single granite hillside on the banks of the Rhône. The Hermitage Rouge is the example of a racy wine, that manages to remain seductive.
Guigal is synonymous with the Côte-Rôtie area, for bringing this great wine region to prominence, and for owning three times as much land as next largest land-owner, vinifiying 1/3 of the total appellation, and unquestionably holding the finest sites in this tiny, special area. The incredible Syrah from this area, co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, has tremendously balanced concentration, depth and finesse.