Home Winners > Winners 2014 > FRANCE: Loire

Winner Details


2014: Gold: 3; Silver: 10; Bronze: 2; Commended: 7
2013: Gold: 2; Silver: 6; Bronze: 6; Commended: N/A
Must-list status: 80% (Sancerre); 50% (rest)
Overall SWA performance 2014: B-

If the Loire were a person, you’d hate them. On one hand, you’d be jealous of their ability to do almost everything – crunchy reds, zippy whites, elegant Sauvignons, ageable Savennières. On the other, you’d be frustrated that they so often promise more than they deliver. This is a region that never seems to be able to get more than a couple of its styles right in any one year.

2012 SWA, for instance, was a Sauvignon-driven year; last year was all about Chenin. And this year was back to Sav again – with a left-field success for a Chardonnay thrown in for good measure – though the beautifully aged Clos du Papillon Savennières was inches off getting on the Gold List as well.

The one constant, sadly, is the general lack of red entries and corresponding dearth of medals, and this year was no exception. It’s frustrating, because our tasters were looking for them – and these are wines that are made for the on-trade.

The majority of the wines here were from the cool 2012 vintage – a year that has given wines that are, at least, typical (no big, ripe tropical flavours), but rather lacking in excitement. If they were films, they’d be the sort of thing you’d be happy to watch on DVD rather than going to see at the cinema.

Though our teams found places on the Gold List for both a Sancerre and a Pouilly, the most positive feedback overall was probably for the Loire Sauvignons, which provided the kind of value for money generally lacking elsewhere.

‘They had more typicity and a better balance of fruit and acidity; not too challenging, but delivering what I expected and tasting like the Loire,’ said Fifteen Cornwall’s Gordon Lawrence. ‘The more expensive were too forced-tasting and one or two had too much oak.’

From the Tasting Teams

‘I gave my highest marks for classical wines, and for ones that were value for money. Some were good, but too expensive.’ Nicolas Clerc MS, consultant sommelier

‘The Loire Sauvignons need to be typical styles. There is customer expectation and you don’t need a sommelier to sell these wines.’ Jenny Mackenzie, team leader

‘We are looking for fruit and citrus, nice acidity and minerality, not only aromatic character. We want a contrast to New Zealand’s style, not overly expressive or OTT.’ Lionel Periner, The Lucky Onion