Skip to main content

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region.

If you look on today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc, awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list:

'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmistakenly southern Rhône, this is quite a mouthful but its remarkably balanced considering with a tensile core. Organic.' (Matt Walls, Decanter 12/20)

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)

All these wines are available and the couriers are still working during the current lockdown so you can place your orders online or by email ( or call 01638 510803.


Popular posts from this blog

Is this some good news about the lockdown?

Wine stocks have been running low recently. After the dry pasta and paper products flew off the supermarket shelves, it was the turn of the wine aisles to empty and it wasn't long before many people realised they didn't really like what they found there. Rather than give up wine (although, apparently, some people have done precisely that), it soon became clear that wine merchants are in the category of permitted business so many of us saw huge spikes of trade, especially in the run up to Easter weekend. As I say, wine stocks have been running low. It is good news, then, that we have been able to start to replenish our supplies but even better news that our first pallets are coming in today from Italy. I hope this signals that, as we are being told, we are over the worst of the crisis and things will soon start to normalise (not just yet though). I CAMPI is an estate we started to work with a couple of years ago but, for some reason, I never fanfared the arrival of the w

Postcard from Provence

With lockdown more or less over, we made a dash to the other side of the Channel and are currently languishing in the Vaucluse  d épartement , home to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape  et al . Mont Ventoux, known to cyclists the world over, is staring at me as I write, only providing a shield from the sun in the early hours of the morning before the heat hits. Exercise here, recently so highly prized (the French were allowed no further than 1 km from home to exercise during their lockdown), is necessarily limited to a gentle morning stroll around the village to collect bread from the  boulang ère.  In time it may be possible to acclimatise but, looking at the locals, I wouldn’t bet on it. France went into lockdown before us, of course, and came out earlier as well so, if we in the UK are fortunate, what I am seeing is a glimpse into the future. We are welcome here – I know plenty of people with concerns about this but it is the Parisians they fear most here it seems. The UK, until