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Reds of the Rhône: top wines from south to north

Stylistically diverse, explore benchmark expressions from the Decanter World Wine Awards...

With a focus on Syrah in the north to a wider range of red varieties in the south, the Rhône is often geographically split, but the versatility and expressiveness of the region’s reds remains.

Ranging from red fruits to black, and herbal and dried characters to smoke and spice, the top-scoring Rhône reds from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 all share a distinct elegance and complexity.

Scroll down to see the top-scoring Rhône reds and tasting notes from DWWA 2021

On the Rhône panel at the 2021 competition, Laura Rhys MS commented: ‘When I’m tasting wines I’m always looking for balance – balance between fruit and structure, and a freshness as well. For a wine to earn a Gold medal, I think it
needs to be something really special, and to stand out.’

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in particular, stood out with three Platinum (two white) and four Gold medals. But it was a wine from Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu (right) that impressed the judges most for its exceptional value, winning a place in the competition’s top 50 Best in Show.

Below, discover a selection of the top-scoring Rhône red wines from the 2021 competition – with many more to be discovered on DWWA results site here.

Reds of the Rhône: top wines from south to north

Best in Show

LePlan-Vermeersch, RS-Dieu, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2020

LePlan-Vermeersch, RS-Dieu, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 202097 Best in Show
£14.49 Carringtons
When it comes to soft, sweet-fruited fragrance and tender flesh, few regions can rival the southern Rhône at its best – and that’s exactly what you’ll find in this great-value Best in Show red. The colours are black-purple; bilberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and just about every other berry you can think of come curling from the glass as you swirl, all freshly defined. The palate, too, is packed with fruit: brimful, overflowing, exuberant, exotic and life-enhancing. There are tannins, but they are soft, and the juicy acidity is buried in the fruits. Enjoy this wine as soon as you can, and don’t even think about ageing it – which would be tosacrifice its youthful appeal. Drink and buy more instead. Alc 14%


François-Xavier Nicolas, Le Jardin des Papes 2019

François-Xavier Nicolas, Le Jardin des Papes 201997 Platinum
N/A UK francoisxaviernicolas.com
Enticing herbal nose, red cherry, cranberry and spices. Fresh and balanced palate, fine tannins and a slight saline touch. Long, enjoyably structured and fragrant. Alc 15%

Ogier, Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes 2019

Ogier, Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes 201996 Gold
£29 Sainsbury’s
Black cherry aromatics with floral notes. Full and rich with fine fruit and texture, lovely tannins. Long and focused, a very drinkable and elegant wine. Alc 14.5%

Domaine Clef de St-Thomas, Pierre Troupel 2019

Domaine Clef de St-Thomas, Pierre Troupel 201995 Gold
N/A UK calissanne.fr
Notes of blackberry and black cherry yoghurt, with hints of white pepper and liquorice. Soft and layered with luxurious tannins. Seamless and harmonious. Alc 14%

Domaine Tour St-Michel, Cuvée du Lion 2019

Domaine Tour St-Michel, Cuvée du Lion 201995 Gold
£30 Montrachet
Refined with floral notes, lots of spice and red fruit. Elegant texture, creamy richness and mouthcoating fruit flavours. Alc 16%

Maison Castel 2019

Maison Castel 201995 Gold
N/A UK maisoncastel.wine
Very full-bodied and ripe but approachable, with good depth of fruit, some freshness, fine tannins and long finish. Real harmony and elegance. Alc 14.5%

Domaine Albin Jacumin 2019

Domaine Albin Jacumin 201994 Silver
N/A UK domaine-albin-jacumin.fr
Pretty floral tones of violet and iris on the nose, the palate textured, dense and powerful, with a wealth of dark blue fruit. Imposing. Alc 14.5%

Gabriel Meffre, Saint-Théodoric 2019

Gabriel Meffre, Saint-Théodoric 201994 Silver
N/A UK gabriel-meffre.fr
Ripe, intense nose, dark berry fruits, spices and some smoky meat aromas. Finely textured tannins, a strong and powerful W wine but well balanced. Alc 15%


Château de Montfaucon, Baron Louis 2017

Château de Montfaucon, Baron Louis 201795 Gold
£18.88 (2018) Lay & Wheeler
Opulent ripe fruit, cassis, black cherry and blackberry, vanilla, toast and smoke. The palate is soft, fresh, with great acidity and balance. Harmonious wine. Alc 14.5%


Château Pesquié, Silica 2019

Château Pesquié, Silica 201996 Gold
£22.50 (ib) Stannary Wine
Powerful aromatics of ripe strawberry and a fragrant floral rose note. Delightful and characterful style. As it sits in the glass it becomes ever more engaging. Alc 15.5%


Domaine les Grands Bois, Eloïse 2019

Domaine les Grands Bois, Eloïse 201994 Silver
N/A UK grands-bois.com
Vibrant nose, with ripe red berries and a layer of mint and thyme. Very concentrated, with strict tannins and great length. Alc 15%

Camille Cayran, Les Voconces 2019

Camille Cayran, Les Voconces 201993 Silver
£18.99 Naked Wines
Lovely, juicy black cherry nose with scents of bay and white pepper. Opaque colour, robust structure and chewy tannins. Nice balance. Alc 15%

Côtes du Rhône

Château La Borie, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019

Château La Borie, Côtes du Rhône Villages 201996 Gold
N/A UK chateau-la-borie.fr
Interesting nose, dark berry fruits, smoky bacon and burnt herbs. Soft and succulent, harmonious with a long finish. Alc 13.5%

Domaine des Gravennes, Marie Louise 2018

Domaine des Gravennes, Marie Louise 201896 Gold
N/A UK domainedesgravennes.com
Interesting nose: there’s a touch of cocoa to the mashed red fruits. Very rich and generous with juicy raspberry fruit into the finish. Plenty of character. Alc 14%

Domaine de l’Odylée, La Généreuse 2019

Domaine de l’Odylée, La Généreuse 201993 Silver
N/A UK lodylee.com
Very harmonious on the nose with lots of fruits and herbal notes. Palate is all well melded together, with great length of flavour. Alc 14.5%


Vignobles Verzier, Empreinte 2019

Vignobles Verzier, Empreinte 201997 Platinum
POA Christopher Piper
Really interesting nose with animal notes and some primary fruit still lurking. Complex and elegant peppery fruits with faint herbal flavours. Lovely freshness and balance. Nice weight and length. Alc 13.5%


Cave de Tain, Gambert de Loche 2015

Cave de Tain, Gambert de Loche 201596 Gold
£115 Boutinot
Super-young. Lovely cooked black fruits, sweet baking spice, toffee and caramel notes. Complex palate with smoky and earthy sweet spice. Long finish with nice complexity. Alc 14%


Vidal-Fleury 2018

Vidal-Fleury 201893 Silver
£69.99 Louis Latour Agencies
Super on the nose with floral notes of violets and fresh black cherry. The palate has real breadth and richness, showing well-judged oak. Alc 13.5%


Romain Duvernay 2019

Romain Duvernay 201993 Silver
£17.65 (2018) York Wines
Lifted, smoky graphite and earthy aromas, followed by dark ripe fruits on the palate. Lovely balance and complexity with good length. Alc 14%

Search all DWWA 2021 award-winning wines from the Rhône

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