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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > FRANCE: White Rhône

Winner Details

FRANCE: White Rhône

2018 Gold 2       Silver 3                Bronze 0             Commended 0
2017 Gold 2       Silver 3                Bronze 1             Commended 4

Which do sommeliers like more, Riesling or white Rhône? Think carefully before you answer – it might not be as straightforward as you think.

This is never one of the biggest sections of the competition (‘niched’ is an accurate description), but it always over-delivers, knocking out half a dozen top-tier medals year after year.

And yet, the shiny things tell only half the story here. The feedback is what is so impressive. Our tasters absolutely loved these, in both rounds of the tasting, and swore to a man (or woman) that, handsell or not, they were going to do more with them on their list.

In such intense competition, special credit must be given to the twinkly-eyed Jean-Luc Colombo. He had a hand in both Golds and a further Silver – and his pricing was impressive. The Colombo & Fille white for sub-£8 was one of the finds of this year’s competition.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘From the cheapest to the most expensive, these delivered what you’d expect from Rhône whites: acidity, some oak, creaminess and some floral notes, too. There were options for gastropubs all the way to top-end heavy meals.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Don

‘There was beautiful richness and complexity, with everything from light to rich styles. The lowest-priced here could easily replace best-selling white Rioja in pubs.’ Tatiana Mann, The Vine Eno Gastro Pub

‘This is what I was hoping for from the category. In the last four to five years, white Rhône has had good successive vintages and showed much more switched-on winemaking, picking at the right time, and with very fair prices. These wines are so complementary to so many food styles.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘Very few people pick [white Rhônes] off the list, but they’re great wines: savoury, complex, and can be really helpful with food matching. Our two Golds are both superb at the price point.’ Mathew Simmonds, Paul Kitching 21212 Restaurant, Edinburgh

Award winners

Found 5 wines

White Rhône

Jean-Luc Colombo, La Belle de Mai, St-Péray 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

As this Rhône white took its rightful place on the Gold podium, The Vine Eno Gastro Pub’s Tatiana Mann found it to lie within the ‘sea breeze, chalky, mineral spectrum of aromas’, with a palate that had ‘honey and peaches, and very vibrant acidity, and with some great length, too’. Team leader Martin Lam, meanwhile, spoke of its ‘aromatic and elegant palate, with ripe stone fruits, and just enough acidity’.

£14.70 Hatch Mansfield

Colombo & Fille, Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

‘Vibrant and refreshing, and great value for money!’ began The Vine Eno Gastro Pub’s Tatiana Mann, who appreciated this Gold winner’s ‘beautiful nose of white peach, as well as some spicy and floral notes, leading to a creamy body with ripe fruit’. ‘Long and structured, with some light smokiness alongside good fruit and freshness,’ thought freelance sommelier Julio Iglesias, while team leader Laurent Richet MS saw it perfectly paired with fish or shellfish.

£7.43 Hatch Mansfield

Maison Les Alexandrins, Viognier 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘A ripe, almost honeyed nose’ led, according to team leader Martin Lam, to a ‘floral, ripe stone fruit palate that is quite exotic, with decent acidity holding it all together’. The Don’s Carlos Ferreira thought it ‘very well balanced, with a long finish’.

£9.60 Liberty Wines

Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

This wine’s ‘bright, fresh, aromatic nose’ and ‘zesty, well-knit fruit on the palate’ led team leader Martin Lam to conclude that it had ‘great potential for food pairing’, while The Don’s Carlos Ferreira specifically saw it pairing with ‘seafood dishes or cheese’.

£27.93 Matthew Clark

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Collines de Laure, Blanc 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

For Arletta Mala of Glasshouse, this was ‘very clean and citrus on the nose, with ripe stone fruits on the peachy, creamy palate’, while team leader Martin Lam found ‘generous fruit on a ripe palate, with rounded, subtle oak use, and a good citrus finish’.

£8.24 Hatch Mansfield

 

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