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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > FRANCE: Red Rhône

Winner Details

FRANCE: Red Rhône

2016 Gold: 7 Silver: 6 Bronze: 6 Commended: 9
2015 Gold: 7 Silver: 13 Bronze: 15 Commended: 16

Given that the early rounds saw several tasters complaining about everything from ‘too much reduction’ to a ‘lack of concentration’ in the Côtes du Rhônes, the final results here were impressive. Three of the latter made it on to the Gold List, giving us a trio of terrific food-friendly reds under £10 – the first time that’s happened here for many years. The Ogier Plan de Dieu, incidentally, was a worthy multi-award winner, picking up both a Critics’ Choice and a Food Match Trophy.

Elsewhere, it was more or less good news all the way – as is often the case with this category. We didn’t perhaps get quite the strength in depth that we’re used to seeing here (only six Silvers as opposed to 13 last year) but there was still plenty of good wine, from Gigondas through Châteauneuf all the way up to Hermitage.

The Northern Rhône reds were, as usual, enormously popular, mixing power, elegance, character and sheer drinkability in a winning combination. And well done to Delas; two Golds and a Silver – and none of them over £14 – was a great performance.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There was much more freshness in the Southern Rhônes than you’d normally expect. If you’d have taken these wines five years ago, you’d have seen much denser colours, and with these there were lighter, brighter colours. It followed through in what we were tasting. All in all a pretty good category.’ Hamish Anderson, The Tate Group

‘A really good showing [from the Northern Rhônes]: lots of sour cherry, meaty savouriness, and pepper. There were more layers of complexity, more craft, as you went up the price points. The wines kind of unfolded rather than hit you in the face.’ Mark Gurney, Cafe Murano

‘What was great about the Southern Rhône flight is that you could have blind-tasted them and by and large known you were tasting Grenache. There was an identity and a sense of place.’ Peter McDaid, Spring

‘These Northern Rhônes are very food-friendly wines. They cope well with all kinds of dishes, depending on whether you go for a fruit-driven or more earthy style. And you can easily drink a couple of bottles. This is important if you’re trying to make a profit.’ Erik Simonics, The Savoy

‘A touch of brett can bring complexity, but if it doesn’t have any fruit behind it, it’s a problem. In most of the Côtes du Rhônes there was no concentration, they had very short finishes.’ Harry Crowther, M Restaurants

Award winners

Found 28 wines

Red Rhône

La Célestière, Cotes du Rhône, 2014, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

Savoury complexity in a richer, new style with a hint of sweetness on the finish gave La Célestière Gold. 'There's pepper, earthy notes, spice and liquorice on the nose,' said Rossano Antonelli of Hawksmoor Air Street, continuing: 'The palate shows good balance and finish, with notes of graphite, raspberry and strawberry.' Bubbledogs' Sandia Chang also noted 'beef jerky nose and animal skins, with very peppery notes'.

£9.00 The Flying Corkscrew

Delas, St-Esprit, Côtes du Rhône, 2014, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

Enticing bramble and berry scents marked St-Esprit out, giving Delas its first Gold of 2016. 'Spicy and peppery on the nose, chunky palate with slightly rustic tannins and good bramble fruit,' said team leader Natasha Hughes MW. 'There's a nice juiciness, with a touch of spice and a good medium finish,' said fellow team leader Angela Reddin.

£7.68 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Gilles Robin, Cuvée Albéric Bouvet, Crozes-Hermitage, 2013, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

'Great complexity here, spicy with new oak on the nose, followed by a rich palate with notes of white pepper and sweet spices,' said The Savoy's Erik Simonics, while Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano found 'mushrooms, meat, plum and damson fruit, different and quite surprising', and team leader Olivier Marie said: 'Richly textured, with granitic minerality and grippy tannins. A beautiful wine that will benefit from more time.'

£17.64 Enotria&Coe

Delas, Domaine des Grands Chemins, Crozes-Hermitage, 2010, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

Intensity allied with harmony gave Delas its second Gold, with team leader Tom Forrest saying: 'Lifted berry aromas with some savoury, smoky bacon notes. Heady, ripe berry fruits on the palate with some darker fruit sweetness, notes of white pepper and florals leading to a juicy finish.' 'Signs of new oak and sweet spices. Would be great for further ageing,' added Erik Simonics of The Savoy, while consultant Sumita Sarma noted 'meat, leather, tobacco, cloves and liquorice' in the mix.

£16.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Jaboulet, La Petite Chapelle, Hermitage, 2007, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

'Quite distinctive, with layered, fresh minerals, and minty notes and smoky bacon hints on the palate,' began Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano, with team leader Olivier Marie noting 'sandalwood and soy sauce aromas alongside the gamey, leathery notes', and The Savoy's Erik Simonics adding: 'Well-developed, showing a little oxidation but at its peak, full-bodied on the mid-palate.'

£51.21 Bibendum Wine

Ogier, Plan de Dieu, Côtes du Rhône Villages, 2014, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner Food MatchCritics Choice

A star from the start, scoring not just a coveted Critics' Choice gong, but also sharing the Roast Chicken Food Match Trophy. Team leader Natasha Hughes MW highlighted its 'red berries and plum aromas with leather and spicy notes, fairly rustic tannins', while Harry Crowther of M Restaurants enjoyed its 'sweet, ripe black cherry notes, spice and old oak with a clean finish'. 'Match with slow-roasted beef brisket and patatas bravas,' said the WSET's Michael Best.

£8.98 Matthew Clark

Nicolas Perrin, Crozes-Hermitage, 2013, Rhône , France

Gold medal winner

Perrin strikes Gold again with its poised, savoury Crozes-Hermitage, this time with the 2013 vintage. 'Smoky pepper notes on the nose, sweet berry fruits on the palate with floral and violet hints, soft, ripe fruit on the finish with some medicinal notes providing contrast,' said team leader Tom Forrest, while Scott Levy of Smith & Wollensky London said: 'Big and meaty with dark fruits, sour cherry and hints of herbs.'

£14.00 Liberty Wines

Delas, Grignan-les-Adhémar, 2014, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

'Simple, juicy, herbal southern Rhône-style red, with red fruits to the front of the palate. A friendly, satisfying drink,' said The Tate Group's Hamish Anderson, with Fifteen Cornwall's Elly Owen noting 'savoury undertones with a little lift of black olive and blackberries on the palate. Well priced.'

£6.69 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Ogier, Bois de Pied Redal, Châteauneuf du Pape, 2014, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

Early days for this wine, with team leader Martin Lam commenting: 'Fresh, ripe primary fruit nose, this is simple but generous at present, and will develop.' Sky Garden's Morgan Daniel agreed, noting 'juicy nose, with elegant dark cherry and ripe strawberry notes'.

£17.47 Matthew Clark

Domaine de Lambisque, Côtes du Rhône, 2014, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

Wth red fruits and slightly smoky notes, this is an easy-drinking and attractive style, with strawberry fruit character and 'meaty, peppery notes on the nose', according to team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

£5.85 Molson Coors

Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-pape, 2013, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

'White pepper, saline minerals and smoked meats on the nose, lovely cumin and allspice notes on the palate with baked cherry and carob,' said Spring's Peter McDaid, while consultant Sumita Sarma found a 'mature style, well integrated and complex, and very expressive of terroir'.

£24.62 Matthew Clark

GMDF, Princes de France, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2013, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

'Ripe, opulent nose, fresh and grippy style on the palate with balanced, lively bramble fruit underpinned by rich tannin and acidity,' said Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group, with team leader Charlie Young agreeing: 'Very good, with a restrained nose, lifted character and full palate.'

£9.10 Kingsland

Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas, 2013, Rhône , France

Silver medal winner

'Fabulous structure, fruit-driven but balances the peppery notes and oak well,' said consultant Sumita Sarma, continuing: 'Vibrant and texturally smooth, with ripe, polished tannins. Has a mature, rounded edge, is expressive and graceful in style, full and complex yet mellow.'

£23.79 Enotria&Coe

Vidal-Fleury, Crozes-Hermitage, 2013, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano found this a 'savoury red with hints of tobacco and spice', while team leader Tom Forrest noted: 'Violet floral and mineral notes, smoky spices with grippy tannins and sweet berry fruit on the palate, with good length and concentration on the finish.'

£12.10 Louis Latour Agencies

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Collines de Laure, Syrah, Méditerranée, 2014, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

'Easy-drinking, approachable style, deep purple in colour with floral violet and ripe berry aromas, ripe dark fruit on the palate, with some mineral notes, and soft on the finish,' said team leader Tom Forrest. 'Currants and strawberries,' added Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano.

£10.31 Hatch Mansfield , Matthew Clark

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Ruchets, Cornas, 2011, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

'Lush, spicy floral aromas with berry notes, savoury and spicy on the palate with sweeter, peppery and leathery notes combining, more ripe berries on the finish with drying tannins,' said team leader Tom Forrest, with Cafe Murano's Mark Gurney summing up: 'Savoury, elegant and beautiful.'

£53.24 Hatch Mansfield , Matthew Clark

Domaine St-Damien, Classique, Gigondas, 2012, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

'Bright, lifted, intriguing nose of strawberry and wild herbs,' began Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group, going on: 'Super wine. Elegant, with mint, rosemary and red fruits, and fine, delicate tannins.' 'Perfumed and very intense, could do with some more ageing,' added consultant Sumita Sarma.

£16.36 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Nicolas Perrin, St-Joseph, 2013, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

'Savoury and meaty aromas on the nose, ripe berry fruit on the palate with white pepper and meaty hints, nice and fresh berry style on the finish,' said team leader Tom Forrest. 'Very drinkable, with integrated fruit and tannins,' added Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano.

£15.00 Liberty Wines

Alain Jaume & Fils, Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte, Lirac Rouge, 2013, Rhône , France

Bronze medal winner

'Packed with cut herbs, forest fruits, sweet chilli and basil notes on the nose, minerals and green tea on the palate, with menthol mint, cinnamon and clove and fine tannin to balance,' said Spring's Peter McDaid.

£13.16 Bibendum Wine

André Brunel , Est-Ouest, Côtes du Rhône , 2013, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

Christophe Curtat, Fées des Champs, Crozes-Hermitage, 2013, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

Château La Verrerie, Esprit Bastide, Luberon, 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£11.00 Liberty Wines

Domaine de l'Amandine , Cuvée Bel Air, Séguret, 2011, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

Château de Campuget , La Sommelière, Syrah, Costières de Nîmes , 2012, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

La Célestière, Les Domaines, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2010, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

Colombo & Fille, Cornas, 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£19.94 Hatch Mansfield

Dauvergne Ranvier , Grand Vin, Vacqueryas , 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£13.00 Matthew Clark

Terraventoux , Terres de Truffes, Ventoux Rouge, 2011, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£8.47 Bibendum Wine