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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > FRANCE: South & South West: Whites

Winner Details

France: South & South-West – White

2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 5 Bronze: 1 Commended: 7
2015 Gold: 1 Silver: 3 Bronze: 7 Commended: 8

This is one of the few categories in the Sommelier Wine Awards where cheapness is still the norm, so no great surprise that all but two of our medal winners were under the £10 mark. And since top awards here have been as rare as a coherent policy at a Donald Trump rally in recent years, it was also good to see four wines making it on to the Gold List.

Yet for all the highlights provided by the medal winners, our tasters were unconvinced about the region as a whole – as a look at the mostly negative feedback below shows. This was, after all, a big category with a lot of entries – so to end up with just 10 medals suggests that there is an awful lot of dross being spewed out. Again, rather like a Donald Trump rally.

The most striking omission is a lack of Picpouls. Despite its popularity with the punters (who presumably would rather be drinking battery acid if it were on offer), the grape has never done particularly well in SWA, and only L’Abeille’s version picked up a medal this time.

Muscats and, in particular, Viogniers fared better, but this is a region that needs to keep the pricing where it is and up the quality a notch or two.


‘A sad line-up from the South of France. You expect texture, flavour and high aromas. It should be an exciting category.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘The House Whites were more impressive by a long way. The price point of these is difficult – France is in a lot of trouble.’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘I look for a white that is good value for money, refreshing and easy to drink, with nice character, fruit and freshness. Too many of these were too short and bitter.’ Chantal Serrano, The Cinnamon Club

‘Typical of the region, from flowers and herbs – they have a sense of place.’ Vittorio Gentile, Theo Randall at the InterContinental

‘Too many of these had an astringent bitterness. You think South of France and you think bright, sunny, with fields… and you want to think of that when you’re drinking it.’ Scott Levy, Smith & Wollensky London

Award winners

Found 17 wines

France: South & South-West, White

LGI-Wines, St Desir, Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne 2015, South West France, France

Gold medal winner

One of St Desir's pair of well-priced Golds is this evocative Sauvignon Blanc, with its guava and passion fruit-infused flavours and zippy sub-structure. 'Green grassy aromas with notes of nettle and cucumber, crisp and zesty with citrusy fruit on the palate,' said team leader Andrea Briccarello, with Chantal Serrano of The Cinnamon Club agreeing, finding it 'aromatic, fresh and medium length'.

£5.75 Majestic Commercial

Gérard Bertrand, Château La Sauvageonne, Terrasses du Larzac, Coteaux du Languedoc 2014, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

A lovely example of an oaked southern white, and one half of a red-and-white Gold pair for Gérard Bertrand, showing elegance with a broad mineral structure. Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn summarised the views: 'Lovely aromas – it smells expensive! – beeswax-textured, honeyed and spiced, this is long and fabulous, like a classic white Bordeaux. The flavours sit an age on the palate.'

£16.99 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Villa Baulieu, Côteaux d'Aix en Provence, Blanc 2012, Provence, France

Gold medal winner

A typically creative southern French blend – Vermentino with Sauvignon Blanc – intrigued our judges. Team leader Martin Lam was struck by its 'evolved, wild, complex and engaging style', while Stefan Kobald of Social Wine & Tapas found 'petrolly, honeyed apple freshness, mineral complexity with a long, buttery finish', and Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn called it 'perfectly balanced, fabulous', with its 'silky, layered nature', and 'perfectly ripe stone fruit balanced with wild flowers and delicate herbs'.

£24.95 Liberty Wines

Cazes, Le Canon du Maréchal, Muscat/Viognier 2015, Roussillon, France

Gold medal winner

Creamy and exotic, lively and refined, with lovely texture, length and balance, this Gold Lister 'opens up with a little air to reveal peach fruit aromas. Lively and refreshing acidity,' said Fiona Bastia of Park Chinois. 'Shows varietal character with notes of spice, herbal aromatics and a touch of warmth,' said fellow team leader Jade Koch, while The Harrow at Little Bedwyn's Roger Jones noted the 'delicate, perfumed nose, the savoury herbaceous hints mixed with citrus peel' on the nose.

£8.15 Liberty Wines

Domaine Grauzan, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2015, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

'Tropical fruit, flowers and herbs on the nose, and stays a good time on the palate,' began Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at the InterContinental, with Stefan Kobald of Social Wine & Tapas also finding it 'fresh and easy-drinking, with honeyed apricot, peach and minerality'.

£6.71 Eurowines

LGI-Wines, Baron de Baussac, Viognier Pays D'oc 2015, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

'Floral nose with lychee, tropical fruit and spice hints on the nose,' began Lukas Nikanorovas of Plateau Restaurant, while Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at the InterContinental found 'grassy white flowers, a clean, zesty, crisp palate and a smoky, lavender finish'.

£5.75 Majestic Commercial

Domaine Lafage, Cuvée Centenaire, Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2014, Roussillon, France

Silver medal winner

'Textured with good depth and hints of spice. While quite closed initially, this gently opens up to show a well-balanced, clean, bright wine with hints of citrus peel and a soft creamy finish with a little spice,' said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.

£9.93 Bibendum

Cauhapé, Chants des Vignes, Jurançon Sec 2014, South West France, France

Silver medal winner

'Aromatic style developing notes of citrus and ginger on the palate,' began Scott Levy of Smith & Wollensky London, while Mauro Pirovano of New Street Grill also noted 'forward, vegetal, asparagus notes'. 'Delicious and moreish,' concluded team leader Simon Woods.

£8.92 Bibendum

Foncalieu, Le Versant, Viognier Pays d'Oc 2015, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

'Oaky and floral aromas, with white flowers and peach hints, vanilla,' said Stefan Kobald of Social Wine & Tapas, adding: 'Easy to drink, with fresh, vibrant acidity.' 'Sapid and long with a salty finish,' added Vittori Gentile of Theo Randall at the InterContinental.

£6.99 Fuller's

L'Abeille, Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

'Peachy, creamy nose, fresh, clean and easy-drinking, with nice acidity on the palate,' began Fiona Bastia of Park Chinois, adding: 'Good value, and a lovely wine for pairing with Chinese foods.'

£5.62 Majestic Commercial

Badet Clément, La Cour des Dames, Pinot Gris 2015, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£5.01 Molson Coors

Abbotts & Delaunay, Réserve, Languedoc Blanc 2014, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£6.14 Molson Coors

Jeanjean, Plo de l'Isabelle, Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Château des Eyssards , Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Bergerac 2014, South West France, France

Commended medal winner

£6.94 Bibendum

Jeanjean, Mas Neuf, Muscat Sec, Pays d'Oc 2015, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£5.59 Molson Coors

Mas La Chevalière, Vignoble Peyroli 2013, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£10.75 Liberty Wines

Château St Martin de la Garrigue, Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner


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