This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Red Rhône over £15 went to Domaine Brusset, Les Hauts de Montmirail, Gigondas 2012 (14%)

Tasted against:

  • Château Sixtine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012
  • David Reynaud, Georges Reynaud, Crozes-Hermitage 2012
  • Gabriel Meffre, Ste-Catherine, Gigondas 2012
  • Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Ruchets, Cornas 2010


In 1947, Andre Brusset turned his back on the main local agricultural pursuits of olive and apricot growing in favour of wine production. Three generations on and his family remains among the leading lights in five southern Rhône appellations, working 69 hectares.

Daniel and Laurent Brusset acquired their terraced, old-vine Gigondas plots in 1986, and the vines thrive in the red marl, sand and limestone soils at an altitude of 400m. This elevation tempers the natural exuberance of the wines, giving – this Trophy-winner being a case in point – great elegance.

Laurent Brusset has 26 vintages to his name, and he assembled this cuvée (named for the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range that dominates the landscape) from 60% Grenache and 25% Mourvèdre, with the balance being Syrah. Regular ploughing, wire-trained trellising and stringent debudding in the vineyard help to produce high-quality fruit. There’s similar attention to detail in the winery: fruit is destemmed and natural yeasts are used, with a slow fermentation on skins. Gentle, mechanical pump-downs (‘robopigeage’) are practised, resulting in wines that are fresh, fruity, racy and long-lived.

Written by Decanter