David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a fine red from France’s killer 2009 vintage
E. Guigal 2009 Crozes-Hermitage
$24.95 | Rhône Valley, France | 92 points
One of the big wine stories of the year has been the flood of excellent 2009 reds from around France’s Rhône Valley. The ripe and healthy vintage gave the syrah- and grenache-based reds an extra nudge toward ripened perfection, resulting in richer fruit and better balance. Again and again, wines that cost $20 to $30 have performed like superstars, and this is a great example.
The taste: This 100 per cent syrah from the northern Rhône pours deep black ruby. The nose is classic, with very ripe, plummy fruit and classic syrah smoke, brine, some meatiness and black pepper. It’s quite full bodied, beefy and well structured, dripping with licorice, wood smoke and dark chocolate. The length is excellent, too.
How to drink it: Like many of the well-balanced 2009s, this is enjoyable now, made even more delicious by Guigal’s use of new French oak. But it has the stuffing to remain in good shape for at least five years. Decant for about an hour and enjoy with pepper steak, roast beef or game.