Home Winners > Winners 2018 > FRANCE: South & South West: Whites

Winner Details

France: South & South-West – White

2018 Gold 6       Silver 5                Bronze 4             Commended 8
2017 Gold 5       Silver 8                Bronze 5             Commended 11

Something is happening in the South of France – at least it is for white wines. After years of tasting entries here that were flavourless, flabby or ferociously over-oaked, since 2016 we’ve seen much better wines from France’s Mediterranean coast.

And so it continued this year. Six Golds was the best this region has managed in the Sommelier Wine Awards since the competition began.

Stylistically, our tasters seemed to like the wines either ‘light but with flavour’ (with Muscat, perhaps surprisingly, doing rather better than Picpoul) or ‘richer and more succulent’. There’s hardly any grape better at fulfilling that description than Viognier, and our tasters were very impressed with what they found here – and the price that it came in at.

The only slight complaint? The relative underperformance of cooler-climate Chardonnays, but that’s a minor grumble. This was a strong section.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘At the entry level these were crisp, elegant and fresh – ticking all the right boxes.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘The Muscat was a bit of a knockout for everyone.’ Debbie Warner, Wild Wine Club

‘At the entry level there were really good value-for-money wines, and they had typicity.’ Lazaros Engonopoulos, Coq d’Argent

‘You get what it says on the tin here. Grapey, floral, aromatic, and good by-the-glass wines for sipping on a summer’s day.’ Robert Mason, Cheese at Leadenhall

‘The flight started with what could’ve been a great house wine, and then a £30 wine at the top that we liked, but in between this was a mixed bag, with wines that were somewhat anonymous.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘These were good wines and the price points were really good throughout, particularly for restaurant wine lists.’ Mikolaj Harmider, Adam’s Restaurant

‘There was some exceptional value in the Viogniers – many sub-£6 and £7 wines. Really good stuff, showing varietal typicity, and nice use of oak.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

Award winners

Found 23 wines

France: South & South-West, White

Boutinot, Domaine de Vedilhan, Serica, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2016, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

‘A cooler-climate Viognier,’ thought Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, going on to describe this worthy Gold medal recipient’s ‘good fruit and minerality, as well as some just-ripe apricot notes’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW identified ‘delicate white peach skin and creamy vanilla notes, well balanced by some sweeter spice on the finish’. The Connaught’s Aurel Istrate liked its notes of ‘jasmine and camomile’, while finding the acidity ‘very well balanced’.

£6.34 Boutinot

Château Maris, Brama, Grenache Gris 2015, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

A Grenache Gris that couldn’t be anything but Gold, according to our judges, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW finding it to be ‘characterful, with exotic fruit and a refined palate with refreshing acidity’, while Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant described it as ‘full-bodied and mineral, with camomile, pear and white peaches, as well as some grapefruit and lemon notes’. ‘Very pretty and elegant,’ summed up team leader Jade Koch succinctly.

£30.44 Bibendum

Jeanjean, Mas Neuf, Muscat Sec 2017, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

‘Everything you’d expect from Muscat,’ began Timothy Connor of Core by Clare Smyth, confirming this wine’s spot on the Gold podium, and going on to describe a wine that was ‘light, aromatic and well balanced’. Richard Cavagin-Carey of The Harwood Arms spoke of ‘classic floral and lemon curd notes, with bracing acidity’, while Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn described it as ‘crisp but rounded, with a lovely flowing texture’, before adding: ‘Great for the price!’

£6.79 Molson Coors

Direct Wines Production, La Voûte, Sélection Terroir 2016, Vin de France, France

Gold medal winner Food Match

Our judges weren’t shy in their praise of this Chardonnay as they elevated it to Gold. For Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant, it was ‘very elegant, with ripe apple and citrus notes, as well as some roasted vanilla, and a long finish’. Andrés Ituarte of Coq d’Argent, meanwhile, found it to be ‘dry and saline, with peach and pear notes, and some moderate acidity – a delicate wine with a long finish’.

£9.71 Direct Wines Production

Château de Campuget, 1753, Viognier 2017, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

‘A lovely attack of peach fruit and white peach skin,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, as this took home a well-deserved Gold, going on to describe the palate as ‘oily, well textured and complex’. Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa’s Piers Gibson-Birch, meanwhile, described ‘ripe apricot’ and ‘good oak usage and intensity of fruit’, and The Connaught’s Aurel Istrate found it ‘crisp, with a touch of ripe orange and marmalade’.

£10.54 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Badet Clément, La Cour des Dames, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Gold medal winner

The first in a category with a particularly high Gold medal hit rate, this had appealing ‘nectarine and blossom aromas’, according to Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa’s Piers Gibson-Birch. Team leader Annette Scarfe MW had praise for its ‘varietal typicity and excellent value for money, with apricots and an oily texture’, while Portland Restaurant’s Carolina Seibel found it ‘fresh and slightly spiced, with good pear fruit’.

£6.25 Molson Coors

Château Lagrézette, Merveille, Blanc, Cotes du Lot 2015, South West France, France

Silver medal winner

‘Floral, aromatic and honeyed, with some quince notes,’ began Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS, leading to ‘crisp acidity and some spicy oak on a palate that’s quite broad and concentrated’, which team leader Angela Reddin thought showed ‘depth and great integration, with a very pleasing finish’.

£26.56 Top Selection Ltd

Domaine Sainte Rose, Le Marin Blanc 2015, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe and racy’, this was also ‘steely, with complex petrol notes, and some viscosity, as well as balanced acidity’, thought Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, while Richard Cavagin-Carey of The Harwood Arms found ‘stone fruit and candied peach’ notes, and thought this ‘an interesting by-the-glass option’.

£11.04 Bibendum

LGI-Wines, King Rabbit, Chardonnay 2017, South West France, France

Silver medal winner

For Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine, this was packed with ‘lemon and lime notes’ and ‘fresh, bright acidity’, while team leader Angela Reddin described it as ‘a fresh style, with cooked pears and apples, and some pineapple cubes on the finish’.

£7.49 Majestic Commercial

Domaine Grauzan, Sauvignon Blanc, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Nigel Lister identified this Gold medallist as a ‘good aperitif, with fresh, zesty mandarin and grapefruit notes, as well as some peach’, while Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club described ‘fresh lemongrass and some gentle stone fruit, with citrus zest’.

£6.80 Eurowines

Advini, Plo d'Isabelle, Picpoul de Pinet 2017, Languedoc, France

Silver medal winner

‘Brightly aromatic, with good weight and texture,’ began team leader Nigel Lister, who thought it had ‘notes of pear, quince and cream’, while Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club found ‘white flower and elderflower, along with crisp lemon and fresh, herbal aromas’.

£6.66 Majestic Commercial

Famille Helfrich, Mas Belles Eaux, Grenache Blanc 2016, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

Jurijs Nemkovs of Hakkasan Mayfair described an ‘aromatic nose with some oiliness on the palate, with some good acidity and a full body, with a floral note and a long finish’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte thought it was ‘good quality, with lots of apricot and cream notes’.

£8.68 The Oxford Wine Company

Foncalieu, Cuvée V, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

For Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine this had distinct ‘Viognier flavours, with some sweet spice and floral notes underlying some citrus and bright acidity’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW singled it out for its ‘lovely freshness on the palate’.

£6.92 Davy's Wine Merchants

Jeanjean, l'Inédit, Vin Moelleux, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

‘A perfumed nose of elderflower and tropical fruit’ kicked things off here for Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club, who went on to describe a palate that was ‘well balanced, with fresh stone fruit, and leading to a complex finish with some toffee apple’.

£9.75 ADVINI

Vignerons de la Vicomté, Le Farniente, Chardonnay 2016, Languedoc, France

Bronze medal winner

‘This could be a house wine,’ commented team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, describing a wine that was ‘slightly floral, and a little pithy, too’. Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant, meanwhile, liked its ‘simple, fresh style, with citrus and a steely minerality’.

£5.85 LWC Drinks Ltd (Merchant and Shippers)

Château de Rhodes, Organic, Gaillac Blanc 2016, South West France, France

Commended medal winner

£7.95 Boutinot

LGI-Wines, Baron de Baussac, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2016, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Laroche, Mas La Chevalière, Peyroli 2015, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£12.35 Liberty Wines

Domaine Grauzan, Chardonnay, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£7.35 Eurowines

Domaine Grauzan, Viognier, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc , France

Commended medal winner

£7.45 Eurowines

Foncalieu, Albariño, Pays d'Oc 2016, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

Badet Clément, La Cour des Dames, Pinot Gris, Pays d'Oc 2017, Languedoc, France

Commended medal winner

£6.25 Molson Coors

Domaine Lafage, Bastide Sobirana, Blanc 2016, Roussillon, France

Commended medal winner

£9.35 Matthew Clark

 

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