Of the crus in which I own vineyards, Guardiola is the highest in elevation, ranging from 800 to almost 1,000 metres altitude. And, naturally, as one climbs higher, the soil becomes poorer. Guardiola being no exception, its make up being mostly lean volcanic sand and basaltic pebbles of sorts, with a little ash thrown in. And equally naturally, the slopes become steeper, the terracings narrower in order to compensate. Vineyard management all manual and singularly difficult. The altitude drives the acidity in the wine, the lean soil accentuates the tannins. Ripening is, therefore, of the essence. Production often lower. Guardiola is somehow particularly attractive. Always the tightest wine, the most difficult and sometimes askew when young, it still remains a favourite. It may be its focused intensity, the tension of a coiled spring; or the sense of austere purity it delivers; or the uniquely high-toned, almost stony bouquet. Or probably because all of the above together make for a wine of very powerful character. Of all crus it is the one requiring more time to release and relax. The sinew releases its tension just a bit, the tannins soften, the wine’s authority remains. Pork, steak, sausages, game, braised meats.