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February 17, 2004 - Wines of E.Guigal

What: American Wine Society tasting

Where: The Denver Athletic Club

When: February 12, 2004

Ticket Prices: 41.50 members, non-members $51.50

Host(s): Denver Chapter American Wine Society

Master of Ceremonies: John Watkins, President

Speaker: Patrick Will

Libations: E.Guigal, northern and southern Rhone Valley

Catering: The Denver Athletic Club

Menu: Appetizers

Attendance: 55

Attire: Business casual

Blacktie Photos by: Phyllis St.John

 Phil Laramore with Patrick Will, Vice President and co-owner of ExCellars Wine Agencies.   Patrick was the event's featured speaker.
Phil Laramore with Patrick Will, Vice President and co-owner of ExCellars Wine Agencies. Patrick was the event's featured speaker.

By Phyllis St.John

Is there anything better than a wine tasting? Thursday evening The American Wine Society offered a special treat; a tasting of E.Guigal wines. Approximately 60 people gathered in the Denver Athletic Club Grand Ballroom to enjoy a variety of the white and red Rhone Valley wines.

One of Rhone’s top producers, the E.Guigal estate was founded in 1946 and produces some of the finest wines in France. Guigal is known as one of the ten finest wine producers in the world. The estate had the Wine of the Year in 2003 and consistently places in the top ten every year.

As the guests picked up their nametags, they were treated to a 2000 St. Joseph, Blanc, a charming white wine to enjoy with the appetizers.

President John Watkins welcomed the attendees and introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Patrick Wills. Patrick is vice president and co-owner of ExCellars Wine Agencies. The company specializes in importing wines from Rhone, Bordeaux and Burgundy. Patrick also serves on the board for the National Pinot Noir Festival and lectures for Wine Spectator’s wine evaluation classes.

Each place setting consisted of six wine glasses, a wine evaluation sheet, a map of the Rhone Valley and a description of the different areas, the varietals grown and the wine style. Patrick began his speech with a bit of history and some facts about the Rhone Valley and the E.Guigal estate. France’s Rhone Valley is a diverse region consisting of two extremely contrasting sub-regions, the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. The northern section is in a continental climate and the southern enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Such a diversity of soils, climates and geography lends itself to a great diversity in grape varieties, character and winemaking styles.

Now the fun began in earnest. The first wine was poured and guests began their evaluations. Wines were judged on appearance, aroma/bouquet, taste/texture, aftertaste and the overall impression. Prices were left out (except for the couple of times Patrick slipped and let the cat, or should I say wine, out of the bag.) Tastings included a 2001 Cotes de Rhone, Blanc; a 2002 Condrieu; a 2000 Cotes de Rhone Rouge; a 2001 Crozes Hermitage, Rouge; a 2000 St. Joseph, Rouge; a 2000 Gigondas, Rouge; a 1997 Cote Rotie, Brune et Blonde; and the featured wine of the evening and 2002’s Wine Spectator’s wine of the year, a 1999 Chateauneuf-du-pape.

After all of the wines were tasted, Patrick shared his thoughts and the prices of each wine. Internationally, one of the most popular E.Guigal wines is the ten dollar bottle of Cotes de Rhone. The other wines ranged from $10.00 to $60.00 a bottle.

The March meeting will be held on Thursday, March 25th and will feature “A Taste of Tuscany” with Italian wine maker Lorenzo Gatteschi of Podere Cion.

AWS is a national non-profit organization devoted to educating people on the aspects of wine. Membership is open to wine novices, experts, grape growers, amateur and professional winemakers, chefs, wine appreciators, wine educators, restaurateurs and anyone else who wants to learn more about the appreciation of wine and gastronomy.

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