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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > FRANCE: Loire

Winner Details

FRANCE: Loire

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 8 Bronze: 3 Commended: 8
2016 Gold: 7 Silver: 8 Bronze: 3 Commended: 4

You might look at the fall in Golds here from last year and wonder what went wrong. But in fact 2016’s haul of seven was very much a blip and this year’s total of four is still above average for this region in the Sommelier Wine Awards.

Moreover, it’s a good spread of styles and prices, too. If we were being picky we could point to the lack of a sub-£10 Sauvignon (we’ve more or less given up on ever getting a good spread of reds to choose from), but being able to put a good, well-priced Sancerre, a Vouvray, a Muscadet and a Chardonnay (!) on our list made for a strong showing. 

Special praise to Grands Chais de France, by the way. They scooped two Golds and a Silver, all under £8, which isn’t bad going.

 

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Loire reds are such a food-friendly style. I’m surprised that there weren’t more of them. They’re ideal for wine lists in spring and summer, or to pair with a lighter dishes.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘There were a few Sancerres that lived up to high expectations, but a few where maybe people had tried to extract too much fruit. For me, this is a region where the wine makes itself.’ Tobias Brauweiler MS, Sake No Hana

‘There was a broad range of styles [in the Sauvignons], and we found great wines at all price points. Some of these would need a hand sell, but it would be worth doing.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘Some of these whites were great for gastropubs, at the £7 or £8 mark. They’re good as aperitif wines, or with a salad in the summer.’ Julien Sahut, Sexy Fish

‘Above a certain price point in the Muscadets you could see where the sur liei kicked in and added some complexity. I think Muscadet is coming back in the UK, and about time too!’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘I really liked the off-dry wines here. There was a great balance between acidity and sugar, which made these very expressive.’ Adam Michocki, Chez Bruce

‘I wonder if some of these had struggled with a warm vintage. Some producers seemed to have rolled with it, but others had produced fruit bombs.’ Mike Best, WSET

 

Award winners

Found 23 wines

France: Loire, inc. Sancerre

GCF Exclusif, Sauvion, Domaine du Cléray, Chardonnay 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Bright and expressive, and undoubtedly deserving of Gold, The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira liked this Chardonnay’s ‘stone fruits on the nose and slightly spicy oak, very well-balanced palate and very fresh finish’, while team leader Tom Forrest highlighted its ‘mineral freshness and a touch of exotic lychee fruit, zingy lemon and zesty texture betraying a touch of sur-lie, and more fresh smoky mineral elements’. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW enjoyed its ‘green herbs and crunchy acidity, making this a good partner for grilled seabass with sauce vierge’.

£7.31 Peter Graham Wines

GCF Exclusif, Cardinal Richard, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

‘Elegant, precise and refreshing, easy-drinking white or paired with summer foods,’ began Sumi Sarma of Sumilier in praise of this versatile, great-value Gold, finding ‘green apples and pears, floral and mild spice hints with herbs and minerals, pleasant style with a lemon finesse’. Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce noted: ‘Pleasant apples and lemon zest with subtle minerality, but mouthfilling and rounded with a clean and fruity finish,’ while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW concluded: ‘Good with oysters.’

£6.83 House of Townend

Domaine Roblin, Terres Blanches, Sancerre 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

‘Fresh, crisp and light on the nose, a lifted and balanced palate with lime-lemon citrus, and green apple notes with some chalky mineral,’ said Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS of this Gold winner, while team leader Sam Caporn MW found it ‘restrained on the nose, with light hints of elderflower on the palate, quite phenolic but with juicy acid’. ‘Lean, clean and mineral, with a long finish,’ added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, pairing it with a mackerel and cucumber salad.

£12.36 Boutinot

Paul Buisse, Clos de Nouys, Vouvray Demi-Sec 2014, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Ripe and refreshing, this Gold medal and Food Match Trophy winner was described by Sumi Sarma of Sumilier as having ‘soft lemon sorbet aromas with crisp, slightly honeyed green and red apple notes, zingy acidity and good structure, some weight and concentration’, finding that the palate was ‘off-dry to medium, but well balanced with extremely graceful acidity and fruit’. Frances Bentley of Individual Restaurant wanted to see this served alongside pan-fried foie gras.

£9.96 Bibendum

GCF Exclusif, Sauvion, Sauvignon Blanc, Haut-Poitou 2016, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘A very aromatic, straightforward Sauvignon with a nice edge of minerality, good at the entry level,’ began Dan Cohen of Cépages Wine Bistro, while Mike Best of the WSET felt it was ‘competing with the New World and doing a good job, very bright and fruit-driven, with very ripe fruits and citrus acidity’.

£6.45 Matthew Clark

Domaine du Petit Métris, Clos de la Marche, Savennières 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh and fruity with a lot of quince and white peach on the nose,’ began Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce, who found it ‘lovely on the palate, with a good balance between acidity and a touch of fruity sweetness, which empowers the flavours, then a long-lasting finish’.

£11.95 Boutinot

Joseph Mellot, La Grande Châtelaine, Cuvée Prestige, Sancerre 2013, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Soliciting a ‘Wow!’ from team leader Sam Caporn MW, who thought it showed ‘unusual, almost botrytis character with tropical fruit and spice notes, and is simply delicious’. Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS pointed out its ‘fumé style, vanilla oak and caramel, rich yellow fruit flavours with apple, good balance from start to finish’.

£20.40 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Joseph Mellot, Le Chant des Vignes, Pouilly-Fumé 2016, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh tropical notes of pineapple on the nose,’ began Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish, finding a ‘dry palate with good aromatic profile, apple and stone fruit flavours, fresh citrus and apricot on the finish with long-lasting acidity’. ‘Juicy fruit with weight and texture on the palate, lovely acidity and finish,’ agreed team leader Laura Rhys MS.

£12.18 Hatch Mansfield

Joseph Mellot, La Grande Cuvée des Edvins, Cuvée Prestige, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Mike Best of the WSET enjoyed this ‘smoky, toasty, oaky style of Sauvignon, showing very ripe citrus and baked apple fruit, with saline complexity on the palate, an impressively ambitious style’, while team leader Laura Rhys MS picked up on its ‘bold fruit, citrus and tropical style with some toasted complexity and creamy texture’.

£20.40 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Les Coteaux Tufiers, Vouvray Demi-Sec 2015, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don felt this was a ‘very good choice for seafood, with its beautiful aromas of orange mousse and cooked apple, a touch of sugar on the palate and very soft acidity, all very nicely balanced’. ‘Ripe pears, quince jam, very mouth-filling in an off-dry style, and keeps the bracing acidity on the palate,’ added Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce.

£6.97 Boutinot

Domaine Fouassier, Les Chasseignes, Sancerre 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh enjoyed its ‘rich yet compact style with superb delineation of freshness, purity of fruits and minerality, rounded off with hazelnut and cheese rind notes on the finish, great for food matching’.

£14.26 Bibendum

Chéreau Carré, Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2014, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Concentrated and precise fruit on the nose, with flavours of green apple and fresh pear, long finish with mineral notes, a classically styled example,’ said Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce, while team leader Tom Forrest also enjoyed its ‘lemon mineral aromas, light yeasty prickle, saline and stony palate with a juicy green fruit finish’.

£8.99 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Joseph Mellot, La Gravelière, Sancerre 2016, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Restrained initially but has some exotic passion fruit character, too,’ began team leader Sam Caporn MW, who found it ‘a pretty wine that is well balanced and long’, while for Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS it was a ‘classic style, fresh and open, with citrus and nettle aromas, wet stone and lime peel with notes of under-ripe melon on the palate’.

£15.02 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Château de la Roche, Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine 2016, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Citrus, green and red apple, mineral notes with orange peel and floral character, nice restraint but bright acidity,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, while WSET’s Mike Best felt that it ‘never gets too intense but has great persistence’.

£7.72 Bibendum

Château de Tracy, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

For Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish, this had ‘very intense ripe fruit on a complex nose, stone fruit and citrus with mineral notes and white pepper on the finish, long and fruity, zesty and zingy’. ‘Very good, delicious fruit freshness, real elegance and class with gentle persistence, pristine fruit and acid, love it!’ said Mike Best of the WSET.

£20.32 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Levin, Gamay 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£15.30 Levin Wines

Les Grands Presbytères, Tradition, Vielles Vignes, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2013, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£8.00 Boutinot

Joseph Mellot, Les Collinettes, Sancerre 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Claude Michot, Les Berthiers, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£11.55 Bibendum

Domaine Fouassier, Les Chailloux, Sancerre 2014, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£13.98 Bibendum

Domaine Lavigne, Vieilles Vignes, Saumur-Champigny 2014, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine Laporte, Les Duchesses, Pouilly-Fumé 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine Laporte, Le Rochoy, Sancerre 2015, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

 

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