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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > FRANCE: Loire

Winner Details

FRANCE: Loire

2018 Gold 3        Silver 3                Bronze 6              Commended 9
2017 Gold 4        Silver 8                Bronze 3              Commended 8

That there’s a lot of warmth out there for the Loire among the sommelier community isn’t in question. Taster after taster told us how much they loved the place – the variety, the freshness, the typicité. Indeed, the only problem this year was the wines themselves. There were not that many of them (understandable, given the frost issues) and, more depressingly, they were not always that good. Particularly for the prices.

So with so few medals under £10, credit has to be given to Levin Wines for its very good, very cheap and interesting Gamay. A useful Beaujolais/Burgundy/Cab Franc substitute. But just the one Sauvignon Gold was an eloquent rebuke to the price quality we were seeing.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There were different styles in Sancerre, some more classic, and some looking more toward New Zealand with the ripeness coming in. But both could work.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘I really like the Loire, the range of different styles, it’s beautiful. And the minerality supports the freshness of the wines.’ Eva Krenkova, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘The Loire is a personal favourite – it’s away from the really big names, and there are lots of different grapes, the winemakers can do what they want. There’s lots of scope within the confines of the appellation.’ Euan McColm, Beaverbrook

‘The Loire reds were fantastic: things that I’d be very happy to see at £80 on my wine list.’ Andrés Ituarte, Coq d’Argent


Award winners

Found 21 wines

France: Loire, inc. Sancerre

Clos de Nouys, Vouvray Sec 2016, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

It was an impressed judging panel that elevated this Loire Chenin to Gold, finding it ‘a great food wine’, according to team leader Annette Scarfe MW, and ‘well balanced and integrated, with delicate apple notes on nose and palate’. Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm found it to have ‘good weight and acidity, as well as complexity and texture’, while Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains praised its ‘ripe style and lively acidity’.

£11.03 Bibendum

Levin Wines, Le Vin de Levin, Gamay 2016, Loire, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

To hear the judges describe this, it couldn’t have been anything but Gold, with Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte finding aromas of ‘black peppercorns and earth, then a medium-weight red fruit palate – so delicious, and great value’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young found ‘leafy, pencil-lead aromas leading to plenty of acidity and more graphite notes on the palate, with a ripe red-fruit character on the finish’. And at the price, Winexponent’s Simon Cassina thought it an excellent by-the-glass option.

£6.55 Levin Wines

Domaine de Terres Blanches, Sancerre 2016, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

As this took its place on the Gold podium, Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club described an attractive nose of ‘chalk, grass, peach and a floral bouquet, leading to a palate with juicy acidity and good ripeness’, while team leader Tom Forrest spoke of a ‘laser-sharp wine streaked with minerality’. ‘Taut, with a pure, beautiful nose and bright, steely palate, with smoke, greengage and grassy notes,’ added Mediterroenean’s Leonie Loudon.

£19.02 Matthew Clark

Famille Helfrich, Domaine du Cléray, Chardonnay 2016, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club had nothing but praise for this wine, finding ‘a delicate and mineral nose, leading to a more biscuity palate, and with some stone fruit notes, too. Quite a precise wine, with a long finish.’

£7.76 Wine Importers

Joseph Mellot, Les Thureaux, Menetou-Salon 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

For team leader Laura Rhys MS, this combined ‘juicy, ripe citrus fruit, pineapple and kiwi fruit, as well as some minerality’, all leading to, according to Melody Wong of Ten Trinity Square Private Club, ‘a dry finish that makes this food-friendly’.

£11.25 Hatch Mansfield

Famille Helfrich, Château du Cléray, Vallet, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘A really fresh and clean wine, with some saline notes and bags of citrus’ was Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm’s summary, while Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club enjoyed ‘stone fruit, chalk and oyster shell on the nose, with the palate reflecting those flavours in perfect balance’.

£10.40 The Oxford Wine Company

Levin Wines, Madame L, Gamay 2009, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner found ‘dark fruit, oak extraction and coffee beans on the nose, with a nicely balanced, youthful palate and drying tannins’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte liked its ‘redcurrant skin, sour cherry and old wooden chest resonating on the palate, and long, toasty-leathery finish’.

£18.20 Levin Wines

Domaine des Grandes Espérances, Supernova, Malbec, Touraine 2013, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘A little earth and hints of manure on the nose, wet hay,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, also picking up ‘red cherry and purple fruit, liquorice notes on a soft palate’, concluding: ‘Damn good.’

£16.04 Matthew Clark

Joseph Mellot, Domaine des Chaintres, Sancerre 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘A lipsmackingly fresh wine, with lots of green fruit aromas like gooseberry, apple and green pear,’ said impressed team leader Tom Forrest, who went on to describe ‘a fresh, mineral palate with more of those green fruit notes’.

£15.89 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Joseph Mellot, La Bardine, Menetou-Salon 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

This was a complex mix of ‘red apple, apple blossom, peach, honey and white flowers’, thought Melody Wong of Ten Trinity Square Private Club, who went on to find ‘good texture on the palate, with a touch of creaminess and a candied lemon finish’.

£14.04 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Bougrier, Alain de la Treille, Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine 2016, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston found an appealing combination of ‘fresh mint, hay and honey, as well as gooseberry notes, culminating in a long finish’, which team leader Laura Rhys MS summed up as ‘a classic style of Sauvignon’.

£8.07 Jascots Wine Merchants

Bougrier, Alain de la Treille, Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Vin de France, France

Bronze medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia was drawn to this wine’s ‘lifted aromas of lemon and gooseberry, and well-balanced but mouthwatering palate’, while team leader Tom Forrest picked up on ‘mineral green aromas, some grassy notes, ripe fruit on the palate with a tropical pineapple hint, mineral freshness and lime on the finish’.

£10.42 Jascots Wine Merchants

Chéreau Carré, La Griffe, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

La Voûte, Touraine Chenonceaux 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£11.04 Liberty Wines

Domaine des Grandes Espérances, La Java des Grandes Espérances, Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£9.38 Matthew Clark

Domaine de Terres Blanches, Le Vallon, Sancerre 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£22.23 Matthew Clark

Joseph Mellot, Les Collinettes, Sancerre 2017, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine Fouassier, Les Chasseignes, Sancerre 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£16.39 Bibendum

Roblin, Terres Blanches, Sancerre 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£12.45 Boutinot

Roblin, Enclos de Maimbray, Sancerre 2014, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£12.95 Boutinot

Bouchié-Chatellier, Premier Millésimé, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£13.95 Boutinot

 

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