Guigal La La La: "No way I'd think this was a 2002"

Posted by Ian McFadden

Rethinking the 2002 La La's
2002 Guigal Côte-Rôtie
La Turque, La Landonne, La Mouline
Côte Rôtie's Blue-Chip Collectibles - Around $160

"No way I'd guess this was a 2002." -Stephen Tanzer's IWC

2002 was a difficult vintage in the Rhône, let us not mince words.

The northern Rhône was not exactly the disaster it was in the southern Rhône, but still, this is just not a trophy vintage. These are not wines to be buried in the cellar - they are wines to drink younger, to consume with food... wines to enjoy.

Still, even this may be underselling the vintage. As the 2002 Northern Rhônes flirt with their 10th anniversary, the best of them have become quite convincing Syrahs. They have filled out; they have gained a bit of flesh. They have a surprising amount of breadth and complexity while still maintaining their vigor and energy.

Which brings us to Raynold's quote, above, from Tanzer's IWC. He wrote "No way I'd guess this was a 2002" in reference to the 2002 La Turque. Of the 2002 La Mouline he writes: "Silky, sweet and mineral-driven... impressive energy and focus... I find this really elegant today." La Landonne: "This has real power and grip."

Great winemakers make great wines even in lesser vintages - it's a lesson that we all (merchants and private consumers alike) seem to forget all the time even though proof comes around again and again. The Guigal's shed around 40% of the fruit from the La La vineyards in their pursuit of quality in 2002 and the wines are frankly well outperforming themselves, far outclassing nearly all expectations. This is a more finessed, less monumental voice of these great vineyards but this is still great, great terroir.

For Syrah, these are some of the best in the world, as just about everyone knows. La Mouline is from the Côte Blonde; it is typically the most elegant and silky. The 2002 La Mouline is, as Mr. Raynolds writes, "downright Burgundian." This is a lightweight Mouline, but it is silky and sexy and in a beautiful place. La Landonne is in the Côte Brune, and the wine tends toward more of a dark, brooding nature. Landonne is one of the more muscular of the La La's and even in 2002 is it a structured, more masculine wine: smoky, earthy, dark-fruited and gamey. Finally, La Turque: This is "from the Blonde side of the Côte Brune" as Andrew Jefford writes and La Turque is vibrant, perfumed, sweet and floral in 2002.

All of the La La's are coming into their peak drinking window (we'll have them in stock right after the holiday, so they will be perfect for winter 2012) and while these should not be put in the cellar, there is also no great rush. Winter 2012 would work, as would 2013, 2014 and a bit beyond.

And finally, pricing. These are all the lowest prices in the nation, but more importantly, they are a fraction of what a "La La" normally costs. With release prices starting at about $300 a bottle (to say nothing of choice back-vintage bottlings which easily command $1,000+ a bottle) these come in at about 50% to 85% off, depending on what marker you use. In either case, that's good.

As you'd imagine, this is a small parcel... it's perfect stock, still in wood. Just a handful of cases are available and even though this email goes out only to a select group of Rhône fanatics, these bottles will be gone before Monday.

Please give us your maximum order and we’ll allocate as fairly as possible. Please be patient with us this weekend - we expect to be very busy in the store and we'll do our best but you may not hear back from us until Monday on this one. So if we don't speak to you, have a great weekend!

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2002 Guigal "La Las"