Côte-Rôtie: Guigal’s 2009 Château d’Ampuis



The art of seduction belongs to the 2009 Château d’Ampuis from Guigal. As I taste it all the vinous logic I’ve accumulated for two decades – which should have me writing down something like ‘cellar for at least five or six years’ – instantly vanishes. This is lust. Pure seduction. The d’Ampuis from Côte-Rôtie is ridiculously good already which kind of confirms what we basically know; a great wine is great already in its youth. But this time even more. The 2009 has something extra, that ‘je ne sais quoi’ feeling.

“I think it’s the best we’ve made so far,” Philippe Guigal tells me when I ask for yet a pour. I haven’t tasted them all, since the start in the mid-1990’s, but feel no need to question his opinion. For sure it’s the best d’Ampuis I’ve had. The elegance, the slightly floral feel from both the Syrah and Viognier and then the spiciness. By now I should know, if there’s stuffing enough it’s no big deal if the wine spends 38 months in new oak. Still it amazes me every time I have a premium bottle from Guigal. Oak treatment this way, is a verification why some wines just adds an extra dimension and why I love it.

2009 Château d'Ampuis

The vanilla scent from the toasted oak pairs beautifully with the dark berries and the almost oriental spices. A dash of licorice, violets and cured meat completes the seductiveness. The d’Ampuis is a blend of different sites in Côte-Rôtie Brune and Côte-Rôtie Blonde. In 2009 the Viognier percentage ended up at 7%. On the palate the wine is more powerful than you normally would expect from d’Ampuis. Ripe berry fruit and Victoria plums hide the tannin structure at first, but it’s there for sure, assuring the cellaring potential. Again the integrated notes of toasted wood. Then the lingering acidity, in the long pure aftertaste. Kudos to all who can keep hands away from this one and find out how it will taste 2020 or so. I won’t manage.

The Virtuoso says:

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