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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > FRANCE: South & South-West - Red

Winner Details

France: South & South-West, including Vins de France - Red

2019 GOLD: 8      SILVER: 6      BRONZE: 5      COMMENDED: 19
2018 GOLD: 2      SILVER: 8      BRONZE: 8      COMMENDED: 12

Well we didn’t see this one coming. The ‘red’ side of the South of France tends to be reliably outscored by its white sister in this competition – usually due to an obsession with oak and alcohol that could best be described as ‘enthusiastic rather than well-judged’.
And those comments reared their ugly, oaky heads again at the first stage of judging, when our tasters ran into a lot of wine that they didn’t like at all. So far, so South of France red…

The difference this year was that, once they’d weeded out the poor bottles, what remained was generally a lot better than usual. There were wines here of character and quality – even if, this year, that mostly came in the £10-£20 area.

Do these wines overdeliver? Emphatically yes – particularly Cazes’ sublime Roussillon Villages, which picked up a Critics’ Choice award. Can you sell them? Yes, again – and your customers will like what they’re tasting. But at these prices they won’t walk off the list without a bit of help.

The exception to this is Grands Chais’ fantastic Grenache/Pinot Vin de France. A steal at barely over House Wine level.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Very ripe fruit and high alcohol. One of the worst flights I’ve had in five years.’ Carlos Ferreira, team leader

‘There was remarkable value for money [in the Vins de France]. They overdeliver.’ Michael Harrison, CuVée VIII

‘Some very well-made wine with good oak integration at the more expensive prices. But we struggled to find value for money.’ Matteo Cali, Savoy Grill

‘Really good quality. You can find wines between £7 and £12 with good character. The top wines – once they were just new oak, now you can find more fruit.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

‘A difficult flight. Wines not in balance overall, and too much technical vinification – thermal, acidification… I didn’t expect that.’ Tanguy Martin, New Street Warehouse

‘I usually expect good value for money from the south-west of France, for something like the beginning of a by-the-glass selection. I think these would satisfy a specific range of customers, especially in terms of value for money.’ Melania Battiston, 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen

‘Some went wrong with too much extraction. But when they got it right they were lovely: fruity and spicy.’ Tom Forrest, team leader
‘Overall these were good wines. What they do well is produce wines that are drinkable, and drinkable now, and that’s what consumers want.’ Filip Viorel, Benares Restaurant & Bar

Award winners

Found 39 wines

France: South & South-West, Red

Plaimont, Château De Sabazan 2014, Saint Mont, South West France, France

Gold medal winner

As this was elevated to Gold, Woodhead 17’s James Fryer described an intriguing mix of ‘chocolate and iodine, with some leafy notes in the background, leading to a leathery palate with some dried cranberries and redcurrants’. An impressed Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant further described it as ‘supple and juicy, full bodied and generous – very fresh and drinkable now but will also age’, appreciating its ‘well-integrated palate with lovely harmony and some toasty oak, not to mention mint and forest floor’.

£16.37 Bibendum

Grands Chais de France, Les Vignerons Grenache Pinot Noir 2017, France, France

Gold medal winner

This Gold-worthy Grenache impressed judges for its value for money, not to mention a ‘spicy, strawberry nose and light, pretty style’, according to team leader Nigel Lister, while Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin described it as ‘fruit driven, with a supple finish’. 67 Pall Mall’s Beatrice Bessi praised its ‘lovely, fresh layers of red fruit, like cherries, raspberries and plums’, while The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Sue Jones recommended either ‘caramelised pork or steak tartare’.

£6.08 Les Grands Chais de France

Mas Janeil, Rouge 2014, Roussillon, France

Gold medal winner

This Gold Lister was ‘big, balanced and very well made’, according to team leader Carlos Ferreira, while Matteo Cali of Savoy Grill was taken with its ‘pronounced sweet spice notes on the nose with vanilla and liquorice’, which led to a palate ‘coated with chocolate and blueberry fruit in this chunky red wine’. Team leader Tom Forrest, meanwhile, described ‘earthy notes, along with coconut and cedar, some dried fruit, and tobacco leaf, too’.

£14.08 Enotria&Coe

Boutinot, Les Volets, Malbec, Haute Vallée de l'Aude 2017, Roussillon, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

Judges invariably commented on the great value for money offered by this Gold Lister, which Tanguy Martin of New Street Warehouse described as ‘gamey and savoury’, while team leader Christopher Cooper thought it ‘easy drinking, with creamy red berries and plum fruit, and a lift of violet’, identifying this as a ‘superior house wine or by-the-glass option’. This all led team leader Laurent Richet MS to picture it alongside ‘liver, mash, onion gravy and roasted broccoli’.

£6.45 Boutinot

Château Thénac, Côtes de Bergerac 2012, Bergerac, France

Gold medal winner

This substantial, savoury Côtes de Bergerac earned itself a Gold medal for its ‘balsamic, meaty notes and big structure, yet gentle tannins’, according to Melania Bellesini of The Fat Duck, while Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan spoke highly of its ‘animal leather notes and juicy, cooked plums’, further describing it as ‘austere yet moreish’. ‘Very rich,’ added team leader Nigel Lister, who thought a decanter would further ‘unfurl the dense blackcurrant fruit and coffee notes’.

£17.32 Matthew Clark

La Croix de Saint Jean, Lo Mainatge, Minervois 2015, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

‘Explosive’, was Tanguy Martin of New Street Warehouse’s first impression of this Gold winner, going on to describe ‘intense, ripe, leathery notes on the nose’, which led to ‘a very generous palate’. Francesca Turra of Mondrian London thought it ‘very spicy with nuts and tobacco notes’, adding that there was ‘fairly high acidity and well-managed tannins’, while Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn found notes of ‘spicy cooked berry fruit – Black Forest gateaux?’.

£13.17 Liberty Wines

Cazes, Ego, Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2017, Roussillon, France

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Taking home not only Gold but a Critics’ Choice award, this drew praise from judges for its ‘cheerful blueberry fruit and a drying lick of spice’, began team leader Jade Koch, who thought it ‘generous without being over the top, with a balanced, considered and thoughtful palate, great minerality and inky length’. Hide Above’s Alonso Abed found it ‘herbal, savoury and full bodied, with some star anise’, while New Street Warehouse’s Tanguy Martin described ‘an explosion of fruit and spices, mixed with the right amount of tannins – great value!’.

£12.49 Enotria&Coe

Château Lagrézette, Cahors 2016, South West France, France

Gold medal winner

‘Outstanding,’ was Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant’s succinct summary of this impressive addition to the Gold List – one of two for Château Lagrézette this year. Meanwhile Filip Viorel of Benares Restaurant & Bar had praise for its ‘beautiful, elegant nose followed by a rich palate dominated with blackcurrant and almonds, as well as a herbaceous note, with refreshing acidity, too’. ‘A real thinking wine,’ concluded Sean Arthur of Cliveden House.

£25.67 Top Selection

Château Lagrézette, Cuvée Marguerite, Cahors 2016, South West France, France

Gold medal winner

Château Lagrézette’s second Gold in this category was ‘rich and intense, with vanilla and cedar wood, as well as some deep red-fruit flavours and a long, lingering finish’, thought Sean Arthur of Cliveden House, while Filip Viorel of Benares Restaurant & Bar added praise for a ‘great chocolate note with some sour, ripe cherry and cassis – a very complex wine’. ‘This has everything,’ continued an impressed Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant, describing ‘vibrant, small-clustered dark fruits, and a full-bodied palate that’s well balanced’.

£31.73 Top Selection

Château Coupe-Roses, Les Plots, Minervois 2017, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

‘Serious stuff,’ said team leader Charlie Young, ‘it needs food and the air from a decanter but that should help bring out the dark, herbaceous aromas, soften the good tannic structure and open the lovely spiced fruit.’

£11.63 Bibendum

Jeanjean, Domaine du Causse D'Arboras, La Faille 2016, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

Charlie Carter of Ten Green Bottles liked the ‘lifted, herbaceous aromas mixed with smoke black pepper’. He also thought the wine ‘has nice body and flavour concentration and although the tannins are quite stark there is a sense of balance and a very nice finish’.

£17.05 Enotria&Coe

LGI-Wines, King Rabbit, Merlot 2017, South West France, France

Silver medal winner

‘This is good value for money,’ said Immacolata Cannavo of Hakkasan Mayfair. ‘It’s medium bodied, with a good red fruit character of supple plums; there’s a nice integration between acidity, tannin and alcohol; it’s well made.’

£6.11 Majestic Commercial

Clos Troteligotte, K-Lys, Cahors 2015, South West France, France

Silver medal winner

Sean Arthur of Cliveden House found ‘pronounced, interesting vegetal “greenhouse” notes on the nose, with floral rose petal and cigar box hints too; the palate is quite meaty and leathery, complementing the vibrant and supple red fruit flavour.’

£12.73 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaines Laithwaite, La Chimère de la Clarière 2016, Vin de France, France

Silver medal winner

Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan found a ‘big, concentrated, chunky nose with mint, dense bramble and new oak; the palate is meaty and juicy with tight, precise tannins and a fine texture’. ‘A steak and a decanter would be a good match,’ added CuVée VIII’s Michael Harrison.

£10.79 Direct Wines Production

Gérard Bertrand, Cigalus Rouge, Aude Hauterive 2017, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Silver medal winner

Rockliffe Hall’s Daniel Jonberger was impressed: ‘With cherries and a touch of raisin on the nose, this opens to a hugely complex palate that offers spice, tobacco, loganberry and cedar wood; lovely!’

£22.66 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Plaimont, Château Saint Benazit 2015, Madiran, South West France, France

Bronze medal winner

Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant found the nose ‘a bit funky, farmyardy, but there’s some good cherry and plum fruit behind it’, adding that ‘the palate has some fairly grippy tannin to keep things fresh’.

£10.18 Bibendum

Mas Janeil, Le Petit Pas Rouge 2017, Roussillon, France

Bronze medal winner

'This is earthy and gamey with good, dense, dark fruit structure.' said Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

£9.07 Enotria&Coe

Château Labastide-Haute, Cahors 2016, South West France, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest noted: ‘A medium ruby colour with some juicy and jammy red fruit notes and a sprinkle of cinnamon. There’s a creamy vanilla feel with the black fruit palate.’

£8.66 Matthew Clark

Foncalieu, Le Versant Pinot 2017, Languedoc Roussillon, France

Bronze medal winner

‘The nose is quite earthy,’ said D&D’s Diana Rollan, ‘with liquorice, garrigue herbs as well as a floral note. A lighter style, more agreeable perhaps, with a final twist of garrigue herbs on the finish.’

£9.11 Bibendum

Gérard Bertrand, La Forge, Corbières-Boutenac 2016, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Richly aromatic and luscious,’ said Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, adding: ‘Very perfumed, with good length of dark fruits, garrigue and olive.’

£48.38 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Château du Donjon, Grande Tradition, Minervois 2016, Languedoc - Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

£8.66 Enotria&Coe

Jeanjean, Devois des Agneaux, L'Audacieux 2017, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner

£12.77 Enotria&Coe

Château de Chambert, Grand Vin, Cahors 2012, South West France, France

Commended medal winner

£29.94 Liberty Wines

LGI-Wines, Chemin de la Serre, Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2018, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner

Domaine de la Baume, La Jeunesse 2017, Languedoc Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

La Croix de Saint Jean, Lo Paire, Minervois 2015, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner

£17.12 Liberty Wines

Domaine Chabbert, Minervois La Liviniere 2016, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

£15.60 LA CROIX DE SAINT JEAN - DOMAINE CHABBERT

Château Coupe-Roses, Bastide de Coupe-Roses, Minervois 2017, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£9.12 Bibendum

Plaimont, Château de Sabazan 2014 2014, Saint Mont, South West France, France

Commended medal winner

£16.37 Bibendum

Plaimont, Les 3 Chevaliers Rouge 2015, Saint Mont, South West France, France

Commended medal winner

£8.49 Bibendum

La Mascaronne, Fazioli 2016, Provence, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine de Bila-Haut, Les Vignes de Bila-Haut, Rouge 2017, Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine of the Bee, Les Genoux 2015, Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

Mas la Chevalière, L'Art des Sens, Pinot Noir Réserve 2018, Pays d'Oc, France

Commended medal winner

£8.82 ADVINI

Badet Clément, La Cour des Dames, Syrah, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner

£5.69 Molson Coors

Cazes, Les Clos de Paulilles, Classique 2017, Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

£14.18 Enotria&Coe

LGI-Wines, Beauté du Sud, Malbec 2017, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Grands Chais de France, Château Belles Eaux 2015, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Badet Clément, La Cour des Dames, Mourvèdre, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£6.25 Molson Coors

 

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