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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > FRANCE: Red Rhône

Winner Details

FRANCE: Red Rhône

2018 Gold 9       Silver 11              Bronze 2              Commended 9
2017 Gold 4       Silver 7                Bronze 10            Commended 15

Most categories would be happy with four Golds, which is what this region picked up for its reds last year. But come on guys… this is the Rhône we’re talking about here! Year after year, it smashes it out of the park in the Sommelier Wine Awards – last year was its most average performance for a long time – and it was as though the region had a point to prove in 2018.

With just shy of double figures for places on our Gold List, this was a truly exceptional performance, and our tasters were absolutely blown away by what they were trying.

We found great cheap wines, superb mid-priced wines and pricier examples that reduced our tasting teams to silent contemplative head-shaking in wonder.

We don’t award a Category of the Year prize, but if we did the Rhône would probably win it. Just an amazing range of medal winners.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘At the top end it was rocking my boat. Really good examples at different price points and different styles. Rich, ripe styles with fruit over the spice, some much more herbal with that lovely medicinal savouriness, and value at the bottom end.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘We have some Northern Rhône on our pairing menu, it works well with spicy, meaty dishes. But from the list we sell some Crozes and that’s about it. It’s rare to sell Côte-Rôtie by the bottle.’ Eva Krenkova, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘It’s exactly what I live for. A good batch that will satisfy people, the top end, the middle end and the bottom end.’ Michael Moore, The London Cookhouse

‘People ask for it, but more for Syrah than Southern Rhône.’ Janusz Pawel Sasiadek, Bottles & Battles

‘The wines seem to show great value for money at the lower end. They can work really well on by-the-glass lists in lots of different types of restaurants and pubs.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

Award winners

Found 31 wines

Red Rhône

Cave de Tain, Les Hauts du Fief, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

‘Excellent. Ripe, dense and concentrated,’ was team leader Nigel Lister’s summary as this took its place on the Gold podium. Aromas of ‘black and blue berries, vanilla spice, black pepper and toasty oak and smoke’ led, according to team leader Tom Forrest, to ‘a creamy palate with black fruit and peppery tannins’. ‘With notes of fennel and cured meat, this tastes like the French countryside,’ added Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm.

£20.67 CAVE DE TAIN

Domaine de la Solitude, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2013, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

‘Generous, intense and perfumed, with a big mouthful of spicy, warm sunshine fruit’ was just what it took, for team leader Martin Lam, to elevate this southern Rhône to Gold. Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles added praise for its ‘velvety and quite complex palate, with some cherry fruit’, while Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia spoke highly of its ‘bramble fruit, plum, sandalwood and spice, with a soft, subtle palate’.

£24.42 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Maison Les Alexandrins, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

‘An excellent example of a northern Rhône wine,’ began an impressed Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains, going on to describe this Gold Lister’s ‘mixture of black and pink pepper with a background of dark fruit, and complemented by silky tannins’. Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS further found ‘smoky bacon, iodine and a saltiness, leading to a juicy, savoury and mineral palate’ that made it perfect, he thought, with herb-crusted lamb.

£15.54 Liberty Wines

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

Gold medal winner

Melody Wong of Ten Trinity Square Private Club was taken by this Gold-winning wine’s ‘sweet baking spice aromas leading to blackcurrant notes, along with ripe cherries, together with some fine tannins’, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston described it as ‘full and vibrant, with good balance’. ‘Full of sunshine,’ added Piers Gibson-Birch of Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, who liked its ‘spice, clove and pepper notes’.

£9.74 Matthew Clark

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Ruchets, Cornas 2013, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

This opulent Rhône red was a hit with our judges, who unhesitatingly elevated it to Gold. Team leader Angela Reddin found ‘crushed bramble fruits with Christmas spice and toasty oak, leading to layered complexity in the mouth, with low-key tannins that allow the fruit to shine’, further describing it as ‘balanced, textural, long and elegant’. ‘All there,’ confirmed The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Sue Jones, describing it as ‘luscious, plump, and built to last’.

£41.17 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Colombo & Fille, Cornas 2012, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

Chalking up yet another Gold for Colombo, this was ‘herbaceous to start, with thyme aromas joining plums, sour cherries and black olive tapenade’, began Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains, going on to describe ‘a palate bursting with flavours of peppered dark fruit, and complemented by vanilla and sweet wood’. ‘Lifted, with spiced plum and dark chocolate notes – this is a very well-defined wine that will definitely gain in complexity,’ said team leader Angela Reddin.

£23.68 Hatch Mansfield

Boutinot, Fide et Arte, Les Coteaux, Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2014, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

‘An easy, approachable wine, with ripe fruit and some spice,’ began Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan Hanway Place as this was awarded a well-deserved Gold, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston appreciated its ‘raspberries with a spicy note, dry tannins, and a fruity finish’. ‘Dark red fruits and a savoury character too… lots of what makes the great Rhônes great, but at a fantastic price,’ concluded Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm.

£6.61 Boutinot

Domaine des Carabiniers, Lirac 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

Judges didn’t hold back in their praise as this rightly took Gold, with Crafthouse’s Andrea Rossi finding it ‘a smooth and elegant wine’ with ‘notes of liquorice and tobacco’, and thinking it showed ‘good potential for ageing’. ‘A bright, sweet, nose with raspberry, mulberry, blueberry and cocoa,’ added team leader Angela Reddin, describing a palate that was ‘laden with fruit and smooth tannins – all at a great price’. ‘Rustic, fruit and earthy,’ summarised Le Gavroche’s Rémi Cousin, adding that it was ‘a wine for food and friends’.

£7.92 Davy's Wine Merchants

R&M Saouma, Inopia, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

A clear Gold medal winner according to our judges. ‘Black fruit and chocolate on the nose lead to a vibrant palate with more fruit, as well as some spice, and with a long finish supported by some clean tannins,’ said Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston, while Piers Gibson-Birch of Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa found it ‘ripe and juicy, with charcuterie notes’, leading to the suggestion that this accompany a well-seasoned steak.

£16.37 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cave de Tain, Terroirs d'Exception, Nord, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘A complex nose, with dried fruit, herbs, spice and hints of smoke and roast meat,’ began Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club, going on to summarise this as having ‘intense flavour, and fresh, smooth tannins. Drinkable on its own, but would only improve with food.’

£18.98 CAVE DE TAIN

Domaine Richaud, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe strawberry and bramble fruit with a soft, rounded mouthfeel,’ said Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia of this Rhône red, while team leader Angela Reddin spoke of ‘lovely depth of mulberry and raspberry fruit, with savoury nuances and a long, fine finish’.

£19.15 Liberty Wines

Ogier, Gentilhomme, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

This Rhône red was ‘soft and approachable in style’, according to team leader Laura Rhys MS, who went on to describe ‘soft bramble fruit to start, leading to some black pepper spice, and some red meat and bacon notes, too’.

£7.64 Matthew Clark

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Forots, Côtes du Rhône 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Juicy, intense fruit, with a bold structure,’ began team leader Laura Rhys MS, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston found ‘richness on the palate, with black fruit and a chocolate note, and soft velvet tannins, too’.

£9.76 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Ogier, Les Chorégies de l'Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

This was a wine that had ‘subtle complexity of concentrated blackberries, with savoury, herbaceous notes and well-integrated oaky spice’, according to Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia, while team leader Angela Reddin appreciated its ‘ironstone minerality and earthiness, with concentration on the compact palate’ and its ‘lingering finish’.

£40.93 Matthew Clark

Cave de Tain, Les Hauts du Fief, Crozes-Hermitage 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest found ‘ripe red and black cherries, vanilla and toasty smoke’. Meanwhile, Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm, appreciated this wine’s appealing combination of ‘coffee, leather and cured sausages – a rich and dense wine, and great value!’.

£15.69 Boutinot

Boutinot, Les Coteaux Schisteux, Séguret, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘A warm and spicy nose, with sweet cloves and cooked fruit, leading to a velvety palate,’ said Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles, with The London Cookhouse’s Michael Moore going on to describe this as a ‘deep, rich, easy-drinking red that would go well with a beef Wellington’.

£8.63 Boutinot

Domaine des Carabiniers, Côtes du Rhône 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Good value,’ began team leader Laura Rhys MS, going on to describe ‘ripe red fruits with a lovely spice character, and some meaty notes, too’, while Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan Hanway Place praised its ‘nice, ripe tannins and fresh fruit’.

£6.10 Davy's Wine Merchants

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Collines de Laure, Rouge 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Crunchy red fruit aromas of raspberry and cranberry,’ began team leader Tom Forrest in his description, going on to find ‘more red fruit on the palate, joined by redcurrants, spicy white pepper and cinnamon, some leafy notes, and tight tannins on the finish’.

£8.24 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Boutinot, Fide et Arte, La Côte Sauvage, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages (in magnum) 2014, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

This ticked all the boxes for team leader Angela Reddin, who spoke of ‘black plum and bramble fruit with smoky hints, and leading to a lovely mineral palate’, while Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia described it as ‘wonderfully savoury, with creamy bramble fruit with lovely balance and length’.

£9.18 Boutinot

Boutinot, Domaine La Haute Marone, Le Cru des Dentelles de Montmirail, Gigondas 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles thought this had a ‘delicate and complex nose, with red and dark fruits, as well as tobacco, chocolate and sweet spices’, while team leader Angela Reddin found ‘fruit pie and peppery savouriness, as well as pencil shavings, and fine tannins’.

£11.37 Boutinot

Les Coteaux du Rhône, Cotes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Dark fruit, as well as some savoury, meaty notes, and dried herbs, too,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS of this Rhône red, adding praise for its ‘lovely weight’ on the palate. ‘Gamey and earthy, with ripe tannins and good length,’ added Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan Hanway Place.

£6.67 Davy's Wine Merchants

Cellier des Princes, Les Vignes du Prince, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

An impressed Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston found ‘cherry, raspberry and cocoa notes on the nose, which are well supported on the palate by more fruit and a spice finish, as well as some good, dry tannins’.

£7.43 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Cave de Tain, Terroirs d'Exception, LA, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£18.98 CAVE DE TAIN

Domaine de la Ville Rouge, Terre d'Eclat, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

Ogier, Dentelière, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£6.65 Matthew Clark

Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£27.93 Matthew Clark

Boutinot, La Ruchette Dorée, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£6.95 Boutinot

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Bartavelles, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

Dauvergne Ranvier, Gigondas 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£15.45 Matthew Clark

Cave de Tain, Terroirs d'Exception, BM, Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£18.98 CAVE DE TAIN

Castillon, Château l'Ermitage, Auzan, Costières de Nîmes 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£6.61 Boutinot

 

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