This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Red Rhône under £15 went to Château Courac, Côtes du Rhône 2012 (14%)
- Benoît Valerie Calvet, Aldi, The Exquisite Collection, Côtes du Rhône-Villages Plan de Dieu 2012
- Domaine Quart du Roi, Côtes du Rhône 2012
Frederic and Josephine Arnaud took ownership of Château Courac in 1995. Frédéric comes from a long line of wine growers and can trace his family roots in the region back to the mid-17th century.
Following their acquisition, the pair began restoring and replanting the vineyards and overhauling the cellar, at which point they discovered the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa along with evidence of wine production having taken place. While the modifications to the cellar have been designed to utilise gravity as much as possible, it’s the vines and the land that the Arnauds believe account for 95% of the final quality in their wines.
This Trophy-winner is a blend of 50% Syrah and 40% Grenache, with the remaining 10% being a mix of Cinsault and Carignan. The vineyards are planted in sand over clay subsoil and surrounded by forests which help protect them from the wind.
Lurking in those woods, however, are wild boars who wait until the grapes achieve perfect ripeness before helping themselves to a fruit feast, so the Arnauds have had to learn to get in quick with their picking teams.
Written by Decanter