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Roussillon red wines: panel tasting results

Thanks to big changes since our last panel tasting in 2015, our judges were impressed by the defined freshness and pared-back oak of these wines.

Rosemary George MW, Andy Howard MW and Frederic Marti tasted 122 wines, with two Outstanding and 47 Highly Recommended.

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their latest-release dry red wines from AP and IGP regions around Roussillon, as well as Vin de France if from grapes exclusively within Roussillon.

Roussilon reds panel tasting scores

122 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 2

Highly recommended 47

Recommended 70

Commended 3

Fair 0

Poor 0

Faulty 0

Six years have passed since Decanter’s last panel tasting of red wines of the Roussillon, in the Catalan southwest of France, and the change was palpable.

Fellow judge Andy Howard MW summed up recent developments in the region: ‘I was expecting more hefty, powerful wines and was pleasantly surprised by the restraint and elegance’. Frederic Marti agreed, commenting on the evident freshness, lift and diversity.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top-scoring Roussillon red wines

The production of table wine, locally called vin sec, as opposed to vin doux naturel (VDN) fortified, is a relatively recent development in the Roussillon.

In their heyday in the mid-19th century, 70 million bottles of VDN were sold per year, compared with just 3 million today.

Top-scoring Rousillon red wines from the panel tasting

The judges

Rosemary George MW is a wine writer based in London and the south of France. Author of more than a dozen books on wine, her latest is The Wines of Roussillon (£35 Infinite Ideas). She publishes her own blog, focusing on the Languedoc, at rosemary-george-mw.com

Andy Howard MW is a Decanter contributing editor and DWWA Regional Chair. A former retail wine buyer for more than 30 years, he now runs his own consultancy Vinetrades, focusing on wine education, judging, investment and sourcing, and has a house in southwest France

Frederic Marti is director of wines at five-star 45 Park Lane in London. Born and raised in the south of France, he began as a waiter, working up through Michelin-starred restaurants including El Bulli in Spain, before his first head sommelier role at London’s Pollen Street Social in 2013.

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