The Guigal “La La” Luncheon at the 2017 Nantucket Wine & Food Festival celebrated France’s Finest Côte-Rôties. The wines were selected by David Hamburger of Acker, Merrall & Condit Co. The menu was created and prepared by Chef Geoff Lazlo, Managing Partner and Executive Chef of the Mill Street Bar & Table in Greenwich CT.
Guigal’s offerings from Côte-Rôtie are generally recognized as being the highest quality wines available from this northern Rhone appellation. Côte-Rôtie, which means “roasted slope” consists of 202 hectares located just south of Vienne in the communes of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône, and Tupin-et-Semons. The wines are primarily Syrah but may contain up to 20% Viognier, as long as the two grapes are co-fermented together. The most distinctive characteristic of Côte-Rôtie’s wines are their aromas of green olives, raspberry, violets, black & white pepper and meaty bacon.
The theme of this lunch was to compare wines from various vintages of Guigal’s three flagship single vintage offerings from La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque. All three vineyards have very small production, with the largest being La Landonne at 800 cases annually. The general consensus is that La Landonne is the boldest, darkest, most meaty of the Côte-Rôties made by the Guigals. The La Mouline, from the Côte Blonde hill, is considered the most perfumed and feminine of the three. The La Turque combines the power of La Landonne and the fragrance of La Mouline with a higher acidity.
So onto the meal. Course 1 was a unique pairing of a white fish served with a Cote Rotie. The pairing was complimentary because the fish was cooked with duck fat to impart a meat-like flavor. This enabled the fish to stand up to the bold red wine. It featured a Local Cod, Freekeh, Radish, Arugula, and Ramps. Surprisingly, the wine was able to connect with the light fish, although certainly not a classic pairing for a Syrah. The wines of the first flight consisted of a 2004 La Landonne, 2004 La Mouline, and a 2001 La Turque. My personal favorite of the flight was the La Turque as it struck a nice balance in a sixteen year “young” wine.
Course 2 featured a Grilled Duck Breast, Oyster Mushrooms, Ramps and Foie Gras. It was served with a 1996 La Landonne, 1995 La Mouline, and 1996 La Turque. Again I gave a slight nod to the La Turque for the same reasons.
Course 3 consisted of a Braised Pork Belly, Stew of Beans, Baby Carrots, and Kohlrabi. It was in flight 3 when the wines began to get very interesting. The 1995 La Landonne was magnificent, clearly the wine of the flight. A 2005 La Mouline and 2003 La Turque were also served.
The final course was highlighted by a Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder accompanied by Polenta Cake, Creme Fraiche and Salsa Verde. When introducing this course, Chef Lazlo said when pairing food with wine, one should be careful of the acidity in any given sauce that might disrupt the enjoyment of the wine. In this case, he created a salsa verde with less pronounced vinegar. The salsa verde served as a fresh contrast to the rich earthiness of the lamb. The final flight of wines were definitely the wines of the lunch and all were simply outstanding. The La Turque and La Mouline were from 1999. The wine of the afternoon was the 1988 La Landonne which was so stunning that two of the participants immediately bought all three bottles that were currently available for sale in the United States. All three wines have received numerous 100 point scores from Robert Parker.
This lunch was very successful and made for a very interesting study in the three signature terroir of Guigal’s single vineyard Côte-Rôties. Hats off the David, Geoff and the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival for executing another great event.