Not far behind, on 90 points, was a wine with an even lowlier status: Domaine Ste-Anne’s Vin de France 2019 Viognier which, at £13.80, must be far and away the best example of this variety at such an attractive price point. Where, outside Condrieu (prices north of £30) can you get Viognier of this quality in the region?
'Grown on cancerous soil, this is a nicely measured style, medium-to-full-bodied with good freshness and ample body and richness, as you'd expect from a southern Rhône Viognier. White spring flowers on the nose, a little gooseberry and fresh pear on the palate. Well-balanced and vivacious with a subtle mineral line.' (Matt Walls, Decanter 12/20)
Reds were successful too: Juvenal again (no great surprises for anyone who knows the wines) with its 2017 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Rouge on 91 points for just £12:
'From 10- to 50-year-old hand-harvested vines on south-facing clay limestone slopes. there's blackcurrant fruit with an uplifting herbal nose, Medium-bodied but seamless. Well-balanced, elegant. Plenty of life left in this yet! Organic.' (Matt Walls, Decanter 12/20)
Also on 91 points, a fully mature wine which at £18, must be a contender for anyone’s Christmas dinner wine: Domaine Brusset’s 2013 Gigondas ‘Le Grand Montmirail’:
'The 2013 vintage was marked by coulure, resulting in a small crop. This is very full-bodied. It still has succulent fruit on the palate, mostly strawberry, and it is taking on woody herbs, smoke, worked leather and menthol. Mature now but won't fall apart any time soon. Food-friendly, great price'. (Matt Walls, Decanter 12/20)