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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > FRANCE: Rhône - Red

Winner Details

FRANCE: Red Rhône

2019 GOLD: 8      SILVER: 14      BRONZE: 7      COMMENDED: 15
2018 GOLD: 9      SILVER: 11      BRONZE: 2      COMMENDED: 9

Year in year out the Rhône remains perhaps the strongest category in this competition, racking up medals and Golds seemingly at will. Usually, it’s a combination of sub-£10 Côtes du Rhônes, then a frankly indecent number of spectactularly wonderful northern Rhônes. Typically, the South barely gets a look in.

Well, this year it was the turn of the vignerons from south of Montelimar to shine. Maybe the more recent vintages suited the South more than the North, but whereas the latter were aromatic and pretty, but ultimately often slightly lacking in palate weight, their southern counterparts were simply wonderful: powerful and fruit-driven, but also savoury and (for once) not overdone. With six Golds, plus Food Match and Critics’ Choice Trophies, this was the southern Rhône’s best performance in the Sommelier Wine Awards by some distance.

Our one criticism, if we had to make one, is the depressing lack of amazing value-for-money cheapies. This was one part of SWA where we could usually rely on two or three great Golds under £8. Now it’s getting hard to sneak them in under £10. Our cheapest medal winner this year, the Les Volets, for instance, is a Vin de Pays Malbec rather than a Côtes du Rhône.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘A lot of very good value. “A blend of happiness”: Mediterranean climate, naturally clean and dry vineyards, an abundance of indigenous grape varieties to work with. I’m always very happy here.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘The Côtes du Rhônes were the flight that I medalled the most. As we went up in price you could see the complexity.’ Savvas Symeonidis, Gymkhana Restaurant

‘The northern Rhône flight was amazing. Even though the prices at the top were high, the quality was high, too.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche

‘Northern Rhônes were a really good flight. There were interesting wines in both modern and old-school styles.’ Adam Michocki, The Glasshouse

‘I’ve always thought Côtes du Rhône is up there with Rioja and Chianti as a kind of word that people associate with wine. I was expecting consistency, and I got it.’ Nigel Lister, team leader

‘In the mid-range, from £9 to £12, there were some real winners from the southern Rhône – really expressive and balanced, with that fantastic savoury fruit balance that the Rhône delivers so well.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘Really lovely wines showing really good value for money at one end, and potential for really elegant, ageworthy wines at the other.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘[The northern Rhône flight] were less extracted, with better freshness compared to a few years ago. If you spent £10 you can get value for money; if you spend £30 you still get value for money.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

Award winners

Found 43 wines

Red Rhône

Domaine Brusset, Les Travers, Cairanne 2017, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

Judges had no doubts about handing over a Gold medal to this southern Rhône, the first of two in the category for Domaine Brusset. Team leader Martin Lam appreciated its ‘luscious ripe fruit, yet with some real freshness here’, while Ross Antonelli of Hawksmoor Borough described ‘blackberry, violets, dark plum and liquorice with soft and supple tannins’. ‘Lovely structure,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS, who praised an ‘extremely juicy palate’.

£12.92 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail 2017, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

Domaine Brusset’s second Gold in a row was ‘quintessentially Rhône’, according to Joshua Castle of Noble Rot, who found it ‘nicely savoury with great fruit definition on the nose, leading to a complex palate of black and blue fruit, and a gorgeously mineral core’. A similarly impressed Ross Antonelli of Hawksmoor Borough enjoyed its ‘spicy, full-bodied palate with notes of violets, pepper, clove and lavender to go with the rich, dark plum and blackberry fruit’.

£18.93 Enotria&Coe

Chante Cigale, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

With judges like The Gilbert Scott’s Juan Manuel Marcos Perez describing this as ‘outstanding and very complex’, it’s no surprise that this took home not only a Gold medal, but a Critic’s Choice award too. Daniel Nuttall of Adam’s Restaurant described it as ‘juicy and floral, with a good backbone of soft tannin’, while Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants praised its ‘good structure, with fresh dark fruits’. For Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants, this added up to a perfect match for ‘slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with mash, mushroom and red-wine jus’.

£23.24 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de la Janasse, Terre de Bussière, Principauté d'Orange 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

This was awarded Gold for its ‘intense flavour, which shows complexity and character’, according to Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants, who added that it had ‘potential to age’. Gazelle Mayfair’s Romain de Courcy found it to be ‘juicy and aromatic with a gamey note’, while impressed team leader Laura Rhys MS spoke highly of ‘ripe, sweet fruit, like tinned berries, along with some pepper and spice, as well as some dark mineral notes – and good length too’.

£9.86 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de la Janasse, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieilles Vignes 2013, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

This was a unanimous Gold according to our judges, who thought it ‘elegant, delicate and complex, with freshly picked raspberry and light, green leafy aromas giving it good freshness’, according to Romain de Courcey of Gazelle Mayfair, who also appreciated its ‘delicate gamey character, and good ageing potential’. Team leader Laura Rhys MS called it ‘intense and complex, with rich, powerful fruit and spicy, velvety tannins’, while fellow team leader Laurent Richet MS thought it an ideal match for ‘roasted lamb with garlic and thyme, and creamed spinach’.

£54.30 Enotria&Coe

Alain Jaume, Haut de Brun, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

This had Gold written all over it, with ‘good concentration and intense fruit, as well as smooth, rich tannins and well-integrated alcohol’, according to Gymkhana Restaurant’s Savvas Symeonidis, while consultant Leonie Loudon spoke highly of ‘a spiced palate of pepper and clove, as well as long black cherry fruit, and a soft mouthfeel’. All this, together with some ‘tar notes and a meaty, fleshy texture’ made it ‘ready for a game casserole’, thought Nelio Pinto of Candlesticks.

£10.25 Bibendum

Charles Helfenbein, Brezeme, Côtes du Rhône 2016, Rhône, France

Gold medal winner

This intriguing Côtes du Rhône took home a Gold medal for its ‘good depth and intensity of flavour, with liquorice, forest floor, leather and chocolate notes, and some well-integrated alcohol and tannins’, said Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant, while team leader Andres Ituarte spoke highly of some ‘barnyard notes to balance out the juicy plum and currant notes, leading to some straw and schist notes on the long finish’, before concluding that it was ‘perfect with grouse’.

£13.94 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Courbis, La Sabarotte, Cornas 2013, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Noelia Calleja of Hakkasan Hanway Place noted the ‘intense, black fruit aromas mingling with sweet spice and smoke; there are nice tertiary notes like leather and tobacco. The tannins are elegant and the finish complex.’

£45.66 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine Georges Vernay, Blonde du Seigneur, Côte-Rôtie 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘What a big nose,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, ‘stuffed with red and black fruits, it feels very smooth with a toasted almond feel; the palate is dense and perhaps still needs a little time to fully unfurl to its undoubted potential.’

£51.62 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Dumazet, Cornas Cuvée Charlemagne 2012, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Floral aromatics of dried flowers are backed up with earthy notes and a touch of smoked bacon,’ said team leader Lionel Periner. ‘The ripe palate is stuffed with pepper and a vegetal note and the velvety tannins leave you with a super umami flavour,’ added Woodhead 17’s James Fryer.

£24.78 Bibendum

Domaine Brusset, Les Boudalles, Ventoux 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘This should be a crowd pleaser,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, adding: ‘There’s a nice fresh berry fruit character with cranberry and redcurrant, plus it’s nicely spiced too; it is fairly light but the overall feel is an easy, fruit-driven wine.’

£8.41 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de la Janasse, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin 2013, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Tanguy Martin of New Street Warehouse seemed happy: ‘This is precise and refined, classy yet full and meaty; it’s satisfyingly savoury as well as fruity. A beautifully blended, very well-made wine; delicious.’

£42.88 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de la Janasse, Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant liked the, ' earthy, farmyard noses with ripe, crushed blackberry notes; there's a very high concentration of flavour with cherries and sweet black fruits coupled with smooth, ripe tannins, hints of sweet spice and leather and well integrated alcohol.'

£10.12 Enotria&Coe

Domaine des Carabiniers, Lunar Apogé, Lirac 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Gazelle Mayfair’s Romain de Courcy liked the ‘ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit that has a funky, barnyard note adding complexity’, further saying: ‘There’s good weight and tannic structure that carries a nice, mineral, slate feel.’

£12.47 Davy's Wine Merchants

La Pigeade, Beaumes de Venise 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Martin Lam enjoyed ‘the dark cherry fruit and rounded oak; this has real Rhône character and is good value’. ‘Earthy and plummy,’ agreed Ross Antonelli of Hawksmoor Borough, ‘with clove, iodine, dark chocolate and wild garrigue herbs.’

£9.85 Stone Vine & Sun

Cave de Tain, Origine 1933, Crozes-Hermitage 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘There’s good crushed raspberry and blueberry aromas,’ noted team leader Lionel Periner,aadding: ‘The wine is medium bodied with some dry tannin but with a juicy, spicy finish; it’s certainly good value for money.’

£12.50 Boutinot

Cave de Tain, Domaine Gambert de Loche, Hermitage (in wooden gift box) 2013, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

James Fryer of Woodhead 17 enjoyed the notes of ‘coffee and earthy mud on the nose and the full broad palate’, adding: ‘There’s dense black fruit, white pepper, sweet spice and a long, purple fruit finish.’ Rémi Cousin of Le Gavroche was more concise: ‘Yummy, yummy; intense and refreshing at the same time.’

£60.50 Boutinot

Cave de Tain, Cornas Arenes Sauvages 2015, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Perfect for a Sunday roast,’ thought team leader Carlos Ferreira, ‘the nose has notes of pine, eucalyptus and wet grass, alongside the red and black fruits; the palate is elegant with good acidity and a long and complex finish.’

£30.00 Boutinot

Ferraton, Saint-Joseph, La Source Rouge 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘I like the black fruit and gamey aromas,’ said Rémi Cousin of Le Gavroche, ‘it follows on to the velvety palate and the finish is persistent with good acidity and spice.’

£16.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Ferraton, Côtes-du-Rhône Samorëns Rouge 2017, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

‘Lovely raspberry nose of Grenache fruit with a touch of coco powder,’ said team leader Nigel Lister, adding: ‘There’s raspberry jam, good acidity and some black fruit and soft spice on the finish.’

£8.90 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Domaine Yves Cuilleron, St-Joseph Les Pierres Sèches 2016, Rhône, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Carlos Ferreira liked the 'smoky character to the nose with tapenade and dense black olive and garrigue notes; black raspberry and blueberry fruits glide across a delicate palate which remains very fresh and fruity.' He added: the wine is very well balanced and finishes well too.'

£21.66 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Brusset, Laurent B, Côtes du Rhône 2017, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘This is pretty, bright and juicy with good length,’ said team leader Jan Konetzki. ‘Nice forest floor and leather aromas with integrated alcohol,’ added Gymkhana Restaurant’s Savvas Symeonidis.

£9.46 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Combier, Cuvée Laurent, Crozes-Hermitage Organic 2017, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

The Glasshouse’s Adam Michocki noted: ‘A very peppery nose with fresh forest fruits like blueberry, cassis and blackberry. The palate is smooth with fine-boned tannins and a long and pleasant finish.’

£16.53 Enotria&Coe

Domaine des Carabiniers, Lunar Apogé, Côtes du Rhône 2018, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Nice charcuterie match’ thought team leader Nigel Lister, adding: ‘It’s nicely aromatic with black cherry, pepper and violets; the tannins are gentle and it makes for a lighter style with a sappy, thirst-quenching finish.’

£8.89 Davy's Wine Merchants

Colombo & Fille, Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2017, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant found ‘perfumed notes of rose and violet lead to a smooth red berry palate with balanced tannins and decent length’.

£7.63 Hatch Mansfield

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

Bronze medal winner

‘This has an intense purple fruit core with purple florals; there’s a nice lift from the fresh acidity and the finish is earthy and meaty with some pepper spice,’ said James Fryer of Woodhead 17.

£10.94 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Cave de Tain, Crozes-Hermitage Sans Sulfites 2017, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘The nose is very fresh and fruity,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, ‘with red cherries, smoke and pine; the palate is also aromatic, smooth, elegant and fresh; it finishes beautifully long.’

£11.65 Boutinot

Domaine Yves Cuilleron, Côte Rôtie, La Madinière 2016, Rhône, France

Bronze medal winner

‘I’d ideally like to age this for another two or three years when it would be really very interesting,’ said Le Gavroche’s Rémi Cousin, adding: ‘There are already lovely notes of dark chocolate, and black olive with a juicy, intense mouthfeel.’

£46.54 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Champ-Long, Tradition, Ventoux 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine de la Solitude, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

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

Commended medal winner

£22.38 Matthew Clark

Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Les Hauts de Montmirail 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£27.28 Enotria&Coe

Chante Cigale, Réserve des Oliviers, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£20.12 Enotria&Coe

Ogier, Gentilhomme, Côtes du Rhône 2017, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£8.15 Matthew Clark

Ogier, Plan de Dieu, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2017, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£9.74 Matthew Clark

Ogier, Vinolithic, Domaine Notre Dame de Cousignac 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£15.98 ADVINI

TerraVentoux, Terres de Truffes, Côtes du Ventoux 2014, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£9.53 Bibendum

La Pigeade, Ventoux, Les Sables 2017, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

Alain Jaume, Clos de Sixte, Lirac 2014, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£14.88 Bibendum

Cave de Tain, Origine 1933, Hermitage 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£33.65 Boutinot

Cave de Tain, Esprit de Granit St Joseph 2015, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£19.75 Boutinot

Charles Helfenbein, La Syrah, Coteaux de l'Ardèche NV, Rhône, France

Commended medal winner

£9.94 Enotria&Coe

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

Commended medal winner

£6.95 Boutinot

 

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