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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > HOUSE WINES: Red

Winner Details

House Wines: Red


2015: Gold 6 Silver 11 Bronze 18 Commended 24
2014: Gold 5 Silver 12 Bronze 10 Commended 16


You won’t be surprised to hear that this was one of the biggest categories of the competition. Is anything more crucial to a restaurant than its House Red? Equally, given our price cut-off of £5.50 ex-VAT and just how hard it is to grow decent grapes to a budget, you won’t be astonished to hear that our teams had to work hard to find decent wines here. Some tasting teams found amazing value, others were left lying on the floor and moaning. This was a category that was consistent only in its inconsistency.

Where France did well in the whites, the House Reds was more about Spain and Latin America.

FOOTNOTE: The price limit for House Wine is £5.50 ex-VAT.

From the Tasting Teams


‘Usually, this is a strong category, but we put more out this year than usual.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘A good chunk of the on-trade’s volume sales go at this level. It’s a critical category.’ Neil Bruce, Studio Alto

‘House wine is like your business card. It tells everyone what you’re all about.’ Vittorio Gentile, Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel

‘Alcohol imbalance was an issue, as was residual – especially at the lower end.’ Charles Van Wyk, FJB Hotels

‘It’s really important to get the entry-level wines right. They need to be great value but not forgettable.’ Gus Gluck, Vinoteca King’s Cross

‘At this level you need to look for something that will encourage customers to have another glass. If the wine doesn’t have freshness and appeal, then it is not worth listing.’ Andrea Fasan, La Petite Maison

Award winners

Found 59 wines

House Wine: Red - <£5.50 ex-VAT

Borsao, Gran Tesoro, Garnacha 2014, Campo de Borja, Spain

Gold medal winner

Excellent balance, good texture and a complexity way beyond its price tag took Borsao to the top. Team leader Martin Lam found 'a nice bit of savoury funk on the nose, with dark red fruits and a savoury edge'. 'Medium weight but intense, with black berries and a note of freshness,' added Yves Desmaris MS of Lutyens, while Julien Sahut of Wine Culture noted the nose of strawberries, the soft tannins and good acidity.

£4.55 Molson Coors

Boutinot, Cabaret Frank, Cabernet Franc 2012, Lodi, California, USA

Gold medal winner

For the price, pretty incredible. 'Rich, complex and well-structured, with lots of dark morello cherries, plums and spices,' said team leader Andrea Briccarello. Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place found ‘slightly smoky, ripe red fruit aromas’ on the nose, along with a palate of 'ripe blueberry and raspberry, soft tannin, nice balance and length’. Aim for the steak and stews with this one.

£5.50 Boutinot

Moncaro, Marche Sangiovese 2013, Marche, Italy

Gold medal winner

The fruity, easy-going pleasure of this wine made our judges smile. 'Leafy blackcurrant and juicy, ripe, red fruits,' said Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel, while Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels was impressed by the 'soft, silky tannins', also noting: 'Primary and secondary notes of vanilla, red berry and oak, good weight, with notes of sour cherry, currant, silky tannins and a mouthfilling, lingering finish.'

£5.49 Eurowines

Boutinot, Pablo y Walter, Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

Good fruit allied with New World warmth set Pablo y Walter's Malbec aside. 'Lots of warm berry fruit, this lasts well on the palate,' said Caroline Catering's Richard Brooks, continuing: 'Versatile and very good value.' ‘A whiff of farmyard and admirable concentration,’ added Gus Gluck of Vinoteca King's Cross.

£5.50 Boutinot

Cono Sur, Los Gansos, Merlot 2013, Central Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

The ‘good, easy-drinking nature’ of this happy Merlot with its medley of floral aromas was what appealed to all, securing the first House Red Gold medal. ‘There’s nice, ripe, central fruit, with a touch of refreshing acidity and soft tannins,’ said Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel, while team leader Tom Forrest found a deepish purple colour with ‘sweet, ripe red and black fruits’ on the nose: ‘Soft, savoury red and black fruit flavours, with some spice and medium length.’

£4.20 CyT UK

Boutinot, Les Oliviers, Merlot/Mourvèdre, Pays d'Oc 2013, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

'Soft and easy but with a bit more to the fruit, this holds well in the mouth,' said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, adding: 'Pleasant by the glass and enough there to cope with modest red meat dishes.' Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains highlighted the ‘delicate, soft palate, good structure of fruit, tannin and acidity’, adding: ‘Lovely balanced, rich texture.'

£4.80 Boutinot

Zorgvliet, Silvermyn Argentum, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot 2013, Banghoek, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel felt that this was a wine with a purpose: 'Juicy, barbecue-calling wine, with some complexity and red fruit finish.' 'Good delivery, herbaceous quality, with ripe, grippy tannins,' added Debbie Smith of 21212.

£5.35 Boutinot

Foncalieu, Le Sanglier de la Montagne, Carignan 2014, Vin de France, France

Silver medal winner

James Hocking of The Vineyard Group found this 'fresh and appealing', going on to describe: 'Some pleasant fruit character here, and a long finish.' 'Dark berries and a full finish,' agreed consultant Deborah-Lynn Morris, adding: 'Good with food or alone.'

£5.26 Cockburn & Campbell

Boutinot, Sierra Grande, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Central Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Floral entry, with notes of canned asparagus and spices,’ began Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison, continuing: ‘Long and beefy on the palate. Juicy, spicy, complex, vibrant and long.’ ‘Good by the glass, but enough weight for a variety of lightish dishes,’ added Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.

£4.80 Boutinot

Bodegas Aguila, Tierra Roja, Old Vines Garnacha 2007, Cariñena, Spain

Silver medal winner

Guillaume Kaczmar of L'Ortolan felt that 'richness and a little grip' made this a 'very decent wine', while team leader Laura Rhys MS highlighted its 'red fruits, meaty hints of spice and elegant tannin'. Great for pub grub and hearty dishes such as sausage cassoulet or venison burgers with cranberry sauce.

£4.50 Copestick Murray

Bibendum, Pez de Rio, Tempranillo/Merlot 2013, Aragón, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Richly textured with ripe tannins, this shows primary fruit character, with morello cherry and damson plum,’ said team leader Olivier Marie. ‘Simple, easy drinking, fruity on both nose and palate,’ added Jonathan Kleeman of The Ritz Hotel.

£5.35 Bibendum

Boutinot, El Monstruo de las Montañas, Malbec/Bonarda 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

'Lovely berried nose leading to an inky, dark, brooding palate,' said team leader Jade Koch. ‘Medium intensity of aromas of fresh red and black fruits,’ noted Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place, adding: ‘Nice, well-rounded and balanced palate with herbal thyme notes and a decent finish.’

£5.30 Boutinot

Los Robles, La Fonda, Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenère 2012, Curicó Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Precise and clean winemaking gives a sweet redcurrant finish and excellent value for money,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar adding: ‘Easy, simple, fruit-driven and dry, with flavours of red berries.’ Floral notes and freshness complete the package.

£3.90 CyT UK

Trivento, Tribu, Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Clean and simple, fresh, with bright red berry aromas. Fruity character with a lactic note to the finish, with ripe fleshy tannins. Well made,’ said team leader Olivier Marie. Ram Chhetri of Bread Street Kitchen agreed. 'Balance, with enjoyable tannins. Definitely crowd pleasing.'

£4.00 CyT UK

Boutinot, Le Fou, Pinot Noir, Pays d'Oc 2013, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

Consultant Deborah-Lynn Morris enjoyed the 'light, fresh Pinot complexity' of this wine, while team leader Simon Woods highlighted its 'soft, gentle, juicy, spicy style and good grippy finish', and The Harrow at Little Bedwyn's Roger Jones noted the lovely balance and zingy nature.

£5.50 Boutinot

Concha y Toro, Mountain Range, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Central Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Well balanced, with soft red fruit and tannins. ‘Aromatic and youthful, with hints of black fruit and a minty/eucalyptus aroma. High alcohol finish, but ripe, juicy and jammy delivery,’ said Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains, adding: ‘A lot for the money.’

£4.00 CyT UK

Juan Gil, Pedrera, Monastrell 2013, Jumilla, Spain

Silver medal winner

Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels noted the good complexity here: 'Aromas of red and black fruit, with hints of vanilla from the use of oak.' He found 'secondary notes of cinnamon and spice' on a ripe fruit finish bolstered by 'grippy tannins'.

£5.15 Boutinot

Broadland Wineries, Pais de Poetas, Chilean Merlot 2013, Central Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Clean, bright, with red fruit and a crunchy, blackberry character,’ began team leader Olivier Marie, continuing: ‘Tannins are ripe, sweet, soft and integrated, and the finish is slightly on the bitter, morello cherry side.’

£4.69 Molson Coors

Bodegas Aguila, El Mazo, Tempranillo 2013, Cariñena, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW found ‘fruit and freshness with simple carbonic character’ in this wine, with Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar adding: ‘Fruity, with noticeably light tannins.’

£4.59 Greene King

Luis Felipe Edwards, Flor del Fuego, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Central Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Diego Muntoni of Oxo Tower Restaurant found ‘blackcurrant aromas with charry smoke and tobacco notes’ on the nose, adding that it had: ‘Well-balanced tannins, mid-weight body and intensity, and middling length.’

£4.75 Majestic Commercial

Bibendum, Gable View, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'A walk on the wild side' was how team leader Angela Reddin saw it, adding: 'Vibrant red colour, bramble fruits. Really complex with umami notes – perfect.'

£5.39 Bibendum

LGI-Wines, Baron de Baussac, Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2014, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Nice cherry and bubblegum notes, fresh, fruity, vibrant and well balanced,’ said Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar, with William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants spotting: ‘Deeper, violet and plum fruit on the palate.’

£5.29 Majestic Commercial

LGI-Wines, Beauté du Sud, Malbec 2014, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

Tipping roast lamb as a good match, Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn said: 'Juicy meat wafts on the nose, spiced, balanced and juicy on the palate. Cool oak, with sweet and lingering bright fresh berries.'

£5.29 Majestic Commercial

Boutinot, Sierra Grande, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Joao Ribeiro of Buddha-Bar London noted ‘berries and strawberry with no wood, this is easy on the palate with a medium finish and mid-intensity’. ‘Dolcetto-esque, gets the juices going,’ added team leader Jade Koch.

£5.50 Boutinot

Trivento, Private Selection, Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

‘Attractive red berry aromas on the nose, juicy and balanced on the palate, with a touch of earthiness,' said Caroline Catering’s Richard Brooks. Spicy and fresh. Good aperitif material.

£4.65 CyT UK

Félix Solis, Ayrum, Tempranillo 2014, Valdepeñas, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Laura Rhys MS liked this wine's 'dark fruit and juicy cherries', with Guillaume Kaczmar of L'Ortolan adding that its black fruits and full body were 'calling for food'.

£5.00 Matthew Clark

Riptide, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Bright and medium length, with notes of red fruit and liquorice,’ said William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants. ‘Baked strawberry with a hint of residual sugar and a redcurrant finish,’ added team leader Annette Scarfe MW.

£4.93 Bibendum

Winery Exchange, Aires Andinos, Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

'Spicy, lifted aromatics, clean and fresh. Dry, clean, tart and fresh on the palate, with good balance,' said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, with team leader Angela Reddin suggesting it as a good option for wine by the glass.

£5.00 Majestic Commercial

Domaine Condamine l'Evêque, Merlot/Cabernet, Côtes de Thongue 2013, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

'They've done a good job here,' concluded team leader Angela Reddin: 'Summer fruit compote with hints of iodine and minerals.' 'Soft, ripe, very drinkable, with smoky black hints,' added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto.

£5.50 Cockburn & Campbell

Borsao, Selección Tinto 2013, Campo de Borja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Richard Bampfield MW found this ‘really characterful’, with ‘deepish, young, clean black fruits on the nose, good fruit and spice and a fresh and long finish’. ’Spicy, vibrant, juicy palate,’ agreed Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison.

£5.50 Boutinot

Boutinot, Les Volets, Pinot Noir, Haute Vallée de l'Aude 2013, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn appreciated this wine's 'lovely colour' and delicate perfume: 'Fresh, clean Pinot-style, soft red fruits in a juicy, raspberry crumble and sour cream style. Food friendly with a long finish.'

£5.50 Boutinot

Boutinot, Feria e Fêtes, Grenache Noir, Côtes Catalanes 2012, Roussillon, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Fruit and spice on a very attractive nose,’ said team leader Richard Bampfield MW, adding: ‘Lovely balance on the palate with a fresh, spicy finish.’ ‘Very drinkable,’ said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.

£5.35 Boutinot

Bibendum, Bush Telegraph, Shiraz/Viognier 2013, South Eastern Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Sweet red fruits, slightly jammy character, with pleasant hints of spice and some refreshing acidity,’ noted team leader Annette Scarfe MW. ‘Medium-light body with slightly candied red fruit,’ added William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants.

£5.06 Bibendum

Aliança, Foral Douro 2013, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

‘Inky purple fruit with a little touch of bay on the nose,’ said team leader Jade Koch, going on: ‘Juicy, dry palate and great acid. Dusty but well balanced, this will have good appeal to a lot of people.’

£5.30 Boutinot

Aliança, Vista Red Blend 2013, Beiras, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

'Good acidity, slightly meaty, with nice grip and berry and plum fruit. Chewy, but friendly finish,' noted team leader Simon Woods, with consultant Deborah-Lynn Morris adding: 'Good balance. Easy-to-drink quaffing wine.'

£5.00 Boutinot

Fray León, Matinal, Merlot 2014, Central Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£3.90 Bottle Green

Boutinot, Cape Heights, Shiraz 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£4.60 Boutinot

Bibendum, Statua, Negroamaro Salento 2012, Puglia , Italy

Commended medal winner

£5.35 Bibendum

Boutinot, Percheron, Shiraz/Mourvèdre 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£4.70 Boutinot

GCF Exclusif, Les Vignerons, Carignan/Syrah 2013, Vin de France , France

Commended medal winner

GCF Exclusif, Les Vignerons, Grenache/Pinot Noir 2013, Vin de France , France

Commended medal winner

Berkmann Wine Cellars, Vent du Sud, Syrah/Grenache, Pays d'Oc 2013, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Greene King, Touro Preto Tinto 2013, Dão , Portugal

Commended medal winner

Reh Kendermann, La Folia, Malbec 2013, Mendoza , Argentina

Commended medal winner

Botter, Piazzi, Nero d'Avola/Shiraz 2012, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

Andean Vineyards, Finca del Alta, Malbec 2014, Mendoza , Argentina

Commended medal winner

£4.45 Bottle Green

Adria Vini, Conviviale, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013, Abruzzo , Italy

Commended medal winner

£5.20 Boutinot

Emiliana, Adobe, Carmenère 2013, Rapel Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£5.50 Boutinot

Osborne, Seven, Tempranillo/Cabernet 2013, Castilla-La Mancha , Spain

Commended medal winner

£4.94 Sogrape UK

GCF, Michel Servin Rouge 2013, Vin de France , France

Commended medal winner

Borsao, Garnacha 2014, Campo de Borja, Spain

Commended medal winner

£4.55 Boutinot

Winery Exchange, Marques de Calado, Tempranillo 2013, Cariñena, Spain

Commended medal winner

Félix Solis, Ayrum, Tempranillo Crianza 2011, Valdepeñas , Spain

Commended medal winner

£5.50 Matthew Clark

Boutinot, Domaine Mas Barrau, Cabernet Franc, Pays du Gard 2013, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£5.40 Boutinot

Boutinot, Les Volets, Malbec, Haute Vallée de l'Aude 2013, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£5.15 Boutinot

Boutinot, Cuvée Jean Paul, Vaucluse Rouge 2013, Provence, France

Commended medal winner

£4.60 Boutinot

Bodegas del Medievo, Finca de Oro, Rioja 2013, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£5.49

Boutinot, Les Cépages Oubliés, Cinsault/Grenache Vieilles Vignes, Pays d'Oc 2013, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£5.40 Boutinot

Cono Sur, Los Gansos, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£4.20 CyT UK

 

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