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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > FRANCE: Red Rhône

Winner Details

FRANCE: Red Rhône

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 7 Bronze: 10 Commended: 15
2016 Gold: 7 Silver: 6 Bronze: 6 Commended: 9

If there is one area of this competition (besides fortified and white Burgundy) where our tasters often get a bit carried away, this is it. We typically get around 30 medals here – with half a dozen of them Gold. So, while fine judged by the standards of any other section of the Sommelier Wine Awards, this year’s 21 medals (including four Golds) can be seen as a rather underwhelming performance by the standards of the Rhône’s reds.

The issue, strangely, seems to be the northern crus. Our tasters found a well-priced cheapie and a couple of good Châteauneufs from the south, but while this would normally be topped off with a string of amazing St Josephs, Hermitages, Côte Rôties et al, this year only one made the step up. And overall we had far more Bronze and Commended wines than we usually get in this section.

It’s hard to pin down what the problem was. Maybe the lack of a stellar vintage to work with? Certainly, the fact that our four Golds all came from different years might say something.

Answers on a postcard, please…

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I was expecting to be more blown away by the northern Rhônes than I actually was. Although we found medals all the way through, there weren’t many that were exceptional.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘People don’t necessarily look for Côtes du Rhône, but they will recognise it, and are happy to drink it if you push them towards it.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘People are beginning to realise that around Châteauneuf there are some amazing other villages. The southern Rhônes were our best flight of the day.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘The Côtes du Rhônes were really hard work. Faults, astringency, over-cropped fruits, poor expressions, brett, reduction, VA…’ Rebecca Coates, consultant sommelier

‘If you go outside of Châteauneuf there’s lots of value for sure, but prices are rising outside of there now, too.’ Tobias Brauweiler, Sake No Hana

‘The balance was the key to the northern Rhônes – that mix of violets and spice. Some had that slight green note, but that’s typical of the style. As long as they had fruit to balance it that was OK.’ Giuseppe Longobardi, The 3A Pub Company

‘Syrah is one of my favourite varieties, so I’m extremely demanding. If there’s one point that’s scary, it’s the price tags. When you need 70% GP it gets expensive for the customer.’ Christopher Delalonde MS, Bleeding Heart Group

Award winners

Found 36 wines

Red Rhône

Boutinot, Les Six, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

An appealing, savoury style, accompanied by plenty of fruit, was enough to elevate this to Gold. ‘Dark fruit with some animal characteristics, prominent tannin yet good freshness on the palate, too, this will improve further with time,’ said Street XO’s Raphael Thierry, while team leader Sam Caporn MW found it ‘well structured and classic, with tight red and black cherry aromas’.

£8.83 Boutinot

Le Puits Neuf, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

A complete wine for team leader Angela Reddin, earning it Gold. ‘Lifted framboise and sweet plum aromas, a whiff of Asian spice, and a generous, fruit-laden palate held together by nice acid and svelte tannin. Lovely,’ she said. Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia described ‘an elegant, light and meaty wine, with cooked fruit and touches of spice’, while team leader Sam Caporn MW enjoyed its ‘classic summer pudding aromatics’.

£12.53 Majestic Commercial

Domaine de la Solitude, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

Herbaceous and packed with red fruit, this took Gold for Domaine de la Solitude. ‘Eucalyptus and lifted cherry notes, with an elegant and perfumed palate,’ thought Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia. ‘A really well-made wine, with spice and red-berry fruit,’ praised team leader Sam Caporn MW, adding: ‘Seamless and characterful. This is young, with lots of potential, and a great match for bresaola with porcini mushroom risotto.’

£24.34 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine de la Ville Rouge, Terre d'Eclat, Crozes-Hermitage 2013, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

‘This Gold absolutely nailed Rhône Syrah, with that lovely meaty, spicy pepperiness and fantastic texture on the palate, good acidity and a nice grippiness to the tannins,’ said an impressed Neil Tabraham of Paris House, adding: ‘Exceptionally good value for money and could sit comfortably on any wine list.’ Team leader Laura Rhys MS praised its ‘rich, bold, crunchy fruit, prune character and nice, vibrant complexity’, with WSET’s Mike Best concluding: ‘Wow, balanced and vibrant, so versatile and food friendly.’ Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW thought this a perfect match for ‘venison with blackberries or beetroot’.

£15.57 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Cave de Tain, Les Hauts du Fief, Crozes-Hermitage 2013, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Very well balanced, red and black fruits with a little spice and pepper,’ began The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, who found it ‘still a bit green, but will be better with another year in the bottle’, while WSET’s Mike Best enjoyed its ‘great, earthy ripe fruit, mouthwatering acidity and delicious complexity, deserving of beef fillet’.

£15.60 Boutinot

Jean-Luc Colombo, La Divine, Côte-Rôtie 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Farmyardy and leather aromas with chocolate and vanilla notes, big red and black fruit on the palate, nice balance with good acidity and a long finish,’ said The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, with WSET’s Mike Best finding it ‘rich and charming, minty and spicy, deserving of a 5-star dish such as rack of lamb’.

£30.31 Hatch Mansfield

Domaine La Haute Marone, Le Cru des Dentelles de Montmirail, Gigondas 2013, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Plenty of red fruit on an expressive nose, notes of black tea, strawberry and cherry on the palate which is elegant, gracious with fine tannin and a long finish,’ said Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS.

£11.28 Boutinot

Jaboulet, Les Jalets, Crozes-Hermitage 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Mike Best of the WSET was taken with its ‘bright and vibrant’ character, noting: ‘Sun-smacked red cherry and white pepper, crunchy red fruit and restraint, with great length driven by concentration of fruit and freshness.’ ‘Good balance, and perfect for a barbecue,’ added The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira.

£11.84 Bibendum

Ogier, Bois de Pied Redal, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Bright, fresh florals and juicy dark berries on the nose,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, concluding: ‘A twist of orange rind and great concentration on the palate of fruit, spice and tannin, all of which are happy.’

£17.50 Matthew Clark

Ogier, Plan de Dieu, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Sam Caporn MW was very taken with this wine’s ‘succulent blue fruit and liquorice style’, finding it ‘soft, supple and characterful’, while Alessandro de Angelis of Jamavar enjoyed its ‘floral and sour red fruit aromas, subtle and refreshing palate’.

£9.11 Matthew Clark

Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

All our panel members were in agreement with this choice, team leader Angela Reddin noting: ‘Red fruit and lifted white pepper, sandalwood, a sprinkle of dark fruits and more spice on a finish that goes on and on.’ ‘All the components are there, but needs time to knit together,’ added Harry Crowther of M Wine Store.

£25.55 Matthew Clark

Domaine du Monteillet, Cuvée du Papy, St-Joseph 2014, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company enjoyed its ‘violets, black fruit, hint of spice, balance on the palate and long taste, with a nice jammy end’, with Mike Best of the WSET also admiring its ‘gorgeous strawberry fruit, such perfume and elegance, to be matched with the best beef fillet you can find’.

£18.91 Boutinot

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Fées Brunes, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Fleshy, fruit-driven and very approachable, with berries and spices, as well as a floral note,’ described Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS, while Ian Howard of The White Hart Inn at Lydgate enjoyed ‘blackcurrant fruit and high acidity, with well-integrated oak and tannins’.

£16.57 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Boutinot, Les Deux Barriques, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2012, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Showing evident spicy oak and bottle age, this is a well-made, sexy wine – delicious!’ said team leader Sam Caporn MW. ‘Ripe fruit, savoury and herbal if a lot of oak on the palate,’ added Street XO’s Raphael Thierry.

£18.56 Boutinot

Boutinot, Les Banquettes Escarpées, Rasteau 2014, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Harry Crowther of M Wine Store found ‘meat and smoke on the nose, graphite and pencil shavings’, while team leader Angela Reddin noted its ‘lifted plum, raspberry and spice aromas, open and inviting palate that’s smooth, round and medium-full, with excellent fruit concentration and ripe tannins’.

£8.97 Boutinot

Alain Jaume & Fils, Domaine Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Balsamic notes on the nose with ripe red fruits and forest floor aromas,’ began Alessandro de Angelis of Jamavar, also noting its ‘ripe, juicy and crunchy red fruit palate with a floral hint of violets, with some potential to age further’.

£12.47 Bibendum

Dauvergne Ranvier, Gigondas 2015, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found ‘concentrated flavours and superb balance, with deep, dark bramble fruit and autumn forest aromas, and wonderful crunchy juiciness on the palate’, while M Wine Store’s Harry Crowther highlighted its: ‘Big mouthfeel! Lots of tannins and extraction.’

£14.35 Matthew Clark

Delas Frères, St Esprit, Côtes du Rhône 2015, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘A vibrant and fresh style, showing dark fruit aromas and flavours, herbal touches on the mid-palate and spicy oak on a long finish,’ said Street XO’s Raphael Thierry.

£8.40 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Domaine de Beaurenard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2013, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Floral nose with red fruit, cherry and plum,’ began Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS, who noted ‘vanilla oak, chocolate mocha notes and tight tannins on a balanced, full-bodied palate’, while team leader Angela Reddin found it ‘packed with fruit in the mouth, layered with spice and mineral elements, firmly tannic and long’, adding: ‘Will be stunning.’

£23.12 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Domaine Les Alexandrins, Crozes-Hermitage 2014, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company enjoyed its ‘fresh red fruit, violet floral notes and touch of pepper’, while WSET’s Mike Best found it ‘floral, herbal, fruity and complex with lifted aromatics and lovely perfume – still youthful, but tasting brilliantly’.

£16.87 Liberty Wines

Domaine Courbis, Champelrose, Cornas 2013, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company highlighted its ‘blackcurrant and blueberry fruit with pepper and clove spice notes, an intensity of crushed grapes on the palate with dry tannins and more spice on the finish’, while WSET’s Mike Best found it ‘delicious, concentrated, a wine for the long term’.

£24.11 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine de Lambisque, Côtes du Rhône 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£5.85 Molson Coors

Famille Sadel, Vacqueyras 2014, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£13.62 SADEL

Famille Sadel, Gigondas 2014, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£18.83 SADEL

Famille Sadel, Côtes du Rhône 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£8.52 SADEL

Domaine Vintur, Le Gentleman, Ventoux 2012, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

Boutinot, Les Coteaux, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£6.52 Boutinot

Boutinot, Les Coteaux Schisteux, Séguret, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£8.54 Boutinot

Saint Cosme, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£9.94 Bibendum

Saint Cosme, Gigondas 2014, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£19.97 Bibendum

Jaboulet, Domaine de Thalabert, Crozes-Hermitage 2012, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£19.79 Bibendum

Cellier des Princes, Hubert et Fils, Côtes du Rhône 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£6.88 Bibendum

Cellier des Princes, Vieux Chevalier, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£14.06 Bibendum

Alain Jaume & Fils, Domaine Grand Veneur, Haut de Brun, Côtes du Rhône 2014, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner

£9.09 Bibendum

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

Commended medal winner

Chateau La Verrerie, Rouge 2013, Luberon, France

Commended medal winner

£14.09 Liberty Wines

 

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