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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > FRANCE: Loire

Winner Details


2016 Gold: 7 Silver: 8 Bronze: 3 Commended: 4
2015 Gold: 4 Silver: 7 Bronze: 7 Commended: 11

Given that it’s the longest river in France at more than 1000km (bonus pub quiz fact for you there), it’s perhaps not surprising that the Loire is able to produce an interesting array of wine styles, from super-light through aromatic and crunchy to rich and exotic, with the odd winsome Cabernet Franc thrown in for good measure.

Usually, you wouldn’t know that from the results in this competition – we tend to get ‘Chenin years’ or ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ years and not much else. So 2016 represented a real step up, with places on the Gold List for Muscadet, affordable Loire Sav, Sancerre, red and white Saumur and a couple of more ambitious and expensive Sauvignons.

Ranging from under £7 to just over £20 it was a beautifully balanced, wide-ranging and nicely laddered selection. Special congratulations to both Levin Wines and Château de Fosse-Sèche (another Top Selection Gold-winning winery), who managed two Golds each.


‘Loire reds are an ongoing challenge. There’s no varietal labelling, so it needs a hand sell, and it doesn’t have the clout of Burgundy or Bordeaux.’ Mya Brown, The Ledbury

‘The Loire Sauvignons were a very strong flight.’ Kelvin McCabe, Yauatcha City

‘With Sauvignon Blanc’s current popularity, these are something you’re really looking seriously at putting on the list.’ Richard Brooks, Caroline Catering

‘The Sauvignons are a very good example of white wines for food, they have richness, intensity, ripe fruit. Sometimes people think Sauvignon Blanc is just for easy drinking but it does work well with food.’ Ivan Vegas, Fox Fine Wines & Spirits

‘They were very good wines, but I wouldn’t necessarily have picked them out as Sancerre.’ Andrés Ituarte, Avenue Restaurant‘

The acidity [in the Chenins] was lower than I would have expected for the Old World.’ Harry Crowther, M Restaurants

“I’d match these Sauvignon Blancs with sushi, sashimi and the more delicate robata foods.” Nausicaa Rotoloni, Roka Mayfair

“Sancerre is a must-have on a wine list. It’s good to have Sauvignon from both the Old World and New World.’ Ignacio Campos, Hawksmoor Seven Dials

“All the leading proponents of natural wine are in the Loire. They’re totally on the hipster bandwagon. As funky as you like…’ Jade Koch, team leader

Award winners

Found 22 wines

France: Loire, inc. Sancerre

Joseph Mellot, Domaine des Chaintres, Sancerre 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Joseph Mellot continues its winning streak, scoring a brace of Golds, beginning with this versatile Sancerre, a Food Match Trophy winner as well. 'Elegant, pretty nose, a little restrained, a bit floral with green vegetal notes, followed by a balanced palate, elegant and nicely textured, showing gooseberry notes on a long finish,' said Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials. 'Lovely depth of fruit,' added The Anchor at Walberswick's Mark Dorber, noting an 'interesting mineral edge with a savoury note'.

£13.76 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Joseph Mellot, La Grande Cuvée des Edvins, Cuvée Prestige, Pouilly-Fumé 2014, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Lightly spicy and elegant, another delicious Gold winner for Joseph Mellot. Green notes, oak, floral elements and creamy texture,' began Sara Bacchiori of Chez Bruce, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW noting 'generous use of oak in a very modern style', while Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants felt it was simply: 'Outstanding.'

£20.37 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

GCF Exclusif, Cardinal Richard, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2014, Loire, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

Great varietal character, good balance and fine value gave Cardinal Richard not only a By The Glass Trophy, but also a share of the Fish & Chips Food Match Trophy. 'Complex nose with fruity, floral notes, good, mouth-coating texture with apple and citrus fruit and fresh, well-integrated acidity,' said Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall, with Roka Mayfair's Nausicaa Rotolani noting 'aromas of white flowers and white peach'.

£6.83 Groupe GCF, House of Townend, The Wine Company UK

Château de Fosse-Sèche, Arcane, Saumur Blanc 2014, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Ripe pear and apricot notes with tertiary characters of salted almonds, hay and wet pebbles,' said Charles Van Wyk of FJB Collection of this Gold Lister, continuing: 'Complex wine with savoury tones and attractive, dried fruit character.' 'Every sniff offers something new,' said Michael Best of the WSET, 'with rich stone fruit, beeswax and hints of oak and herbs. Good acids keep this fresh. Match with scallops and fresh fennel.'

£15.45 Top Selection Ltd

Château de Fosse-Sèche, Eolithe, Saumur Rouge 2013, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Château de Fosse-Sèche has done the double, balancing its white Gold with this red one. 'Bright, crunchy fruit with freshness, ripeness and classic Loire character,' said Mya Brown of The Ledbury, with team leader Jade Koch adding: 'Gravelly texture, wild berries, pert, alive and funky,' and Bar 44's Owen Morgan saying: 'The fresh, perfumed spice continues the dance on to the palate. Classic Cab Franc.'

£14.12 Top Selection Ltd

Levin Wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Val de Loire 2012, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Truly fresh varietal characteristics took this well-priced wine to the Gold podium. 'Elegant and mineral, with gooseberry and herbaceous style and decent acidity,' began Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants, while Sara Bacchiori of Chez Bruce highlighted its 'asparagus, gooseberry and greengage, quince with some pear notes on a ripe, fruity palate with some length'.

£7.85 Levin Wines, l'Art du Vin

Levin Wines, Mister L, Sauvignon Blanc, Val de Loire 2012, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Barrel fermentation gives depth and creaminess to this Gold Lister. Gustavo Medina of Tate Britain found this 'complex with great concentration', finding 'gooseberry blossom notes on the nose, lime and lemon freshness with a touch of tropical fruit and a rich mid-palate'. 'Rich and complex, with some honeyed development,' added team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

£18.90 Levin Wines, l'Art du Vin

Claude Cogné, Sauvignon Blanc, Val de Loire 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Intensive nose with nice brightness, delicate mineral notes on a medium-bodied palate, well balanced with green apple and grapefruit on the finish,' said Georgi Mihov of Bohemia Bar and Restaurant, while Mauro Pirovano of New Street Grill noted 'passion fruit and pineapple, and a warm mineral finish'.

£7.20 Cockburn & Campbell

Domaine du Petit Métris, Clos de la Marche, Savennières 2013, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Attractive nose of pear drops, well rounded on the palate, mouth-filling fruit with acidity to balance,' said Harry Crowther of M Restaurants. 'Beeswax, honey, cooked apricot complexity with an off-dry mid-palate,' added team leader Andrea Briccarello.

£10.65 Boutinot

Hubert Brochard, Sancerre 2013, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Greengage, bell peppers and sweet peas on the nose,' began Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials, adding: 'Good intensity on the palate, which echoes the nose, medium-bodied with balanced freshness.' 'Grass and nettles, this is lean and clean, and spicily aromatic,' said Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick.

£9.99 Greene King

Joseph Mellot, La Gravelière, Sancerre 2015, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant found 'soft, bruised pear on a bright, fresh nose', also noting 'lots of minerality with a grassy, citrus-dominant finish' on the palate, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW highlighted its 'limpid freshness, green herbs and stones, and pure character'.

£14.51 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

GCF Exclusif, Sauvion, Haut-Poitou, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Sara Bacchiori of Chez Bruce found it 'fresh, clean and simple, with gooseberry, freshly cut grass and mineral citrus aromas, light and bright with low alcohol', while Kelvin McCabe of Yauatcha City noted its 'smoky gooseberry and elderflower, with lime and good phenolic grip on the palate'.

£5.68 Matthew Clark, Groupe GCF, ND John Wine Merchants Ltd

Caves de la Loire, Wally, Chenin Blanc, Val de Loire 2015, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Attractive, vibrant aromas offering peach and apricot with green apple notes,' began FJB Collection's Charles Van Wyk, continuing: 'Refreshing, with lemony acidity that lingers. Great summer wine, offering superb value.' Bubbledog's Sandia Chang agreed, saying: 'Lovely nose of white flowers and honeysuckle, with a herbaceous note to the palate. Match with grilled fish.'

£6.50 Liberty Wines

Levin Wines, Vin Cerveaux, Pouilly-Fumé 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Elegant nose with aromas of flint and citrus. Very well balanced on the palate with racy minerality and clean fruit, with a long, mineral finish,' said Georgi Mihov of Bohemia Bar and Restaurant, while Gregg Lambert of Galvin La Chapelle noted 'greengage and fresh stone fruit, with a flinty note'.

£18.90 Levin Wines

Laporte, Le Rochoy, Sancerre 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Well put together,' began Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant, continuing: 'Tight citrus fruits, very delicate minerality with a bright acidic background. Pretty and flinty.' 'Mineral, with hints of nutty character and well balanced, must be kept for further ageing,' added consultant sommelier Dominique Raclin.

£15.50 Jascots Wine Merchants

Michel Redde, Majorum, Pouilly-Fumé 2012, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'Oak is quite prominent, but it has attractive aromas, some complexity on the palate and stays clean and fresh,' said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, adding: 'Interesting food possibilities.'

£33.46 Louis Latour Agencies

Laporte, Les Duchesses, Pouilly-Fumé 2014, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW enjoyed the 'lovely ripe citrus and green apple on the mid-palate', while also highlighting its 'attractive and complex mid-palate', while Sara Bacchiori of Chez Bruce commented on its 'pronounced mineral and herbaceous nose and crisp, refreshing, creamy elegance'.

£14.85 Jascots Wine Merchants

Domaine Tabordet, Laurier, Pouilly-Fumé 2014, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'Zingy citrus character, lasts well in the mouth with a decent length. A good foodie wine,' said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering. 'Lime and lemon, zesty with a bit of white pepper and great minerality,' agreed Tate Britain's Gustavo Medina.

£13.54 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Joseph Mellot, Cuvée du Troncsec, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Joseph Mellot, Destinéa, Sauvignon Blanc, Val de Loire 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine Guindon , Muscadet Sur Lie, Coteaux de la Loire 2014, Loire , France

Commended medal winner

£8.07 Bibendum Wine

Chéreau Carré, La Griffe, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2014, Loire, France

Commended medal winner


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