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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > FRANCE: Loire

Winner Details

FRANCE: Loire

2019 GOLD: 9      SILVER: 10      BRONZE: 5      COMMENDED: 10
2018 GOLD: 3      SILVER: 3        BRONZE: 6      COMMENDED: 9

Perhaps not surprisingly, given its northerly location, the Loire can be one of the most up and down sections of this competition. Vintage matters. But so, too, does variety. And this year the planets aligned perfectly. We had a raft of entries from decent vintages and, crucially, from across the appellation.

The result? Our tasting teams were able to find Golds for our list in a wide variety of styles, from zesty Muscadets through well-priced Touraine Sauvignons to a richer Pouilly Fumé. It was wonderful to see a good performance from the reds as well. We’ve only had one red Gold in the past three years, so to get two at once (and from different vintages) was a real bonus.

Two Food Match awards shows why sommeliers like this region so much. Great – and unique – restaurant wines for good prices. And big congratulations to Pithon Paille for its two Golds and a Critics’ Choice award. Fine effort…

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There’s much more representation of Loire reds than there was. People are certainly more aware of Cabernet Franc.’ Michael Harrison, CuVée VIII

‘The Sancerres started at a very high price point. I was expecting better value. Stylistically there were two extremes, with some that were really tart, tight and reductive, while others were overly complex and flabby. It’s about finding that balance between herbaceous characteristics and tropical fruit, and none here really ticked those boxes.’ Charlie Carter, Ten Green Bottles

‘Some of the Sauvignon flight were less typical than we expected, lacking that zippy, mineral, floral style. There was more excitement above the £10 mark.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘They can go very well with a whole meal, not just as an aperitif. There are lots of foods that can match with Sauvignon.’ Dario Barbato, Individual Restaurants

‘I really liked the Chenin flight. I found nice minerality here, and most showed terroir, too. There was the refreshing style, and then those with some oxidation, and I think both styles work. The refreshing style works well with fish, and maybe dim sum, while the oxidative style is better suited to heavier meats. These would be good for the sharing concept at our restaurant, where the wine can work from the beginning to the end of the meal.’ Oliver Nagy, Hakkasan Hanway Place

‘These show that Muscadet is making a comeback.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

Award winners

Found 34 wines

France: Loire, inc. Sancerre

Château du Cleray, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2014, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

As judges found this deserving of not only a Gold medal but a Food Match award too, team leader Charlie Young thought it ‘subtle yet memorable’, as well as ‘lean, focused and long, with minerality and complexity’, while Hakkasan Hanway Place’s Oliver Nagy appreciated its ‘ripe fruit, like elderberry, grapefruit and fresh green apple, and a mineral finish’. ‘Typical Loire,’ summarised consultant Emanuel Pesqueira, finding it ‘honest, complex and well aged – and great value too’.

£11.03 Les Grands Chais de France

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Cuvée Insolite 2017, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

With its ‘plush, exotic aromas and fleshy passion fruit flavour profile, with a grippy finish’, according to team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, a Gold medal was inevitable. Charlie Carter of Ten Green Bottles added praise for its ‘delicate apricot fruit aromas and refined palate that’s crisp but rounded, with more apricot and other candied fruits mingling pleasantly on the finish’, while Nelio Pinto of Candlesticks thought it ‘well weighted and viscous, with some fresh thyme, and a fresh finish’.

£21.93 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Pierre Sourdais, Chinon Tradition Organic 2017, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Taking home not only a Gold medal, but a Food Match award too, this Loire red was ‘earthy and floral, with a touch of cacao’, according to Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group, while team leader Nigel Lister appreciated its ‘earthy, farmyard nose and juicy, fleshy black and red fruits’. Beatrice Bessi of 67 Pall Mall thought its ‘complex layers of red berries, leather and liquorice root’ would make this ‘very enjoyable with a puttanesca pasta with burrata’.

£11.08 Enotria&Coe

Pithon-Paillé, Mozaik, Anjou Blanc NV, Loire, France

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

With generous praise from judges including team leader Charlie Young, who found this ‘endlessly complex, unconventional and delicious’, it’s no surprise that a Critics’ Choice award followed its elevation to Gold. Young described ‘sweet spice and fennel, with ground nuts and sherry notes, as well as cloves and citrus’, while Hakkasan Hanway Place’s Oliver Nagy enjoyed its ‘oxidative style, with crisp apple and citrus, and quite a rich palate, with good acidity and length’.

£13.34 Enotria&Coe

Pithon-Paillé, Coteaux des Treilles, Anjou 2013, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

‘Just delicious,’ said 67 Pall Mall’s Terry Kandylis as this took its place on the Gold List with its ‘honeyed notes on the nose, as well as some bruised apple, leading to a wonderfully dry palate with precision and length’, while consultant Emanuel Pesqueira pronounced it ‘harmonious’, and ‘expressing typicity’. ‘Perfect acidity,’ added Daniel Loughlin of 20 Stories, who thought its ‘marmalade, tangerine rind, nutty almond and smoky notes’ made this perfect for ‘fatty meats like pork belly’.

£27.05 Enotria&Coe

Pithon-Paillé, Mozaik, Anjou Rouge 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

This ‘beautifully put together’ wine, according to team leader Charlie Young, earned its Gold medal for its ‘black fruit purity on the nose, and tight tannins that let some seamless red berry character through’. Impressed fellow team leader Nigel Lister found it ‘richly aromatic and very fleshy, with bright acidity’, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group appreciated its ‘nose of graphite and truffle’ and Melania Bellesini of The Fat Duck enjoyed its ‘very intense dark spice, red fruits and a long finish’.

£13.99 Enotria&Coe

Bougrier, Nicolas Rouzet, Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine 2017, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

Judges recognised the value for money offered by this Gold Lister, as well as its ‘very fresh and fruity character, with elderflower and passion fruit, and a typical mineral backbone’, according to Romain de Courcey of Gazelle Mayfair, who added that it was ‘intense, with good length’. Team leader Laura Rhys MS enjoyed its ‘lime, tropical fruit, green pea and grapefruit notes’, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston liked its ‘fresh-cut grass and citrus nose, with a sweet and aromatic palate, and balanced finish’.

£7.25 Majestic Commercial

Domaine Laporte, Pouilly-Fumé La Vigne de Beaussopet 2016, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

This Gold winner had, for Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, ‘a lot of character, and a very interesting nose, with pink grapefruit and savoury spice, as well as a slight walnut or almond nuttiness’, while team leader Martin Lam described it as ‘complex and evolving well, with elderflower on the nose, and a hint of passion fruit and green herbs on the palate’. Fellow team leader Laura Rhys MS, meanwhile, spoke highly of its ‘lovely weight and acidity, with white pepper, lemon and herbal notes’.

£20.62 Enotria&Coe

Domaines Minchin, La Tour Saint Martin, Menetou-Salon, Morogues 2017, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

‘Complex, rounded and highly aromatic,’ was team leader Martin Lam’s summary as this was awarded Gold, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn elaborated with notes of ‘grapefruit and a slight kerosene note, leading to creamy roundness on the palate, with some flint, too’. ‘An elegant style,’ added The Gilbert Scott’s Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, who found ‘lemon and green gooseberry notes’, while team leader Laura Rhys MS identified ‘orange zest, wet stone and notes of green pepper’.

£14.01 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Joseph Mellot, Le Chant des Vignes, Pouilly-Fumé 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Very good Sauvignon,’ said Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants, ‘there’s bright acidity and good flavour intensity; the wine is persistent and structured.’ ‘Lovely freshness to the green apple and peachy fruit,’ added team leader Laura Rhys MS.

£12.88 Hatch Mansfield

Château de la Roulerie, Le P'tit Cab 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘The nose has intense, mature, juicy aromas of berries with a savoury, earthy note. The palate is also juicy with nice, ripe tannins and nicely integrated alcohol,’ said Melania Bellesini of The Fat Duck.

£9.25 Borough Wines

Domaine de Pierre, Sauvignon de Touraine, Domaine de Pierre 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘This makes me salivate!’ said team leader Jan Konetzki, ‘there’s nice fresh notes of lemon and apple and a touch of pickle – dill and cucumber. This is dry, crisp and good!’

£9.57 Enotria&Coe

Joseph Mellot, Les Collinettes, Sancerre 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Intensely aromatic,’ said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW; ‘delicate and tropical’ thought Charlie Carter of Ten Green Bottles, adding: ‘There’s a grassy, herbaceous edge but a lovely concentration of soft peach and passion fruit on the finish.’

£16.20 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Château de Fosse-Sèche, Eolithe, Saumur 2016, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘Bright, supple and pure fruit aromas; this has a nice ferrous palate with lovely juice and good potential,’ said Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan.

£19.14 Top Selection

Sylvain Gaudron, Vouvray Sec 2016, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'With light apple aromas this wine feels fresh and crisp and the palate has notes of lemon peel to augment the green apple fruit; the finish is fresh with a mineral edge.' said team leader Tom Forrest.

£12.15 Enotria&Coe

Jérémie Huchet, Château de la Bretesche, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘This feels quite bashful but there is some oyster shell showing,’ began Moio Restaurant’s Carolina W Seibel, adding: ‘The palate shows more ripeness of fruit and a captivating acidity that embraces the richness with astringency on the finish.’

£8.57 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Laporte, Pouilly-Fumé Les Duchesses 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

‘There’s white flowers on the nose, stone fruit on the palate with peach and apricot; good length and crisp acidity,’ said consultant Leonie Loudon. ‘Good concentration and a honeyed note to finish,’ added Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant.

£16.92 Enotria&Coe

Les Celliers de Cérès, Sancerre, Le Petit Broux 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Romain de Courcey of Gazelle Mayfair was impressed: ‘This is a delicate and elegant wine; it’s very nicely balanced with a great leesy mouthfeel that’s full with lemon and yellow plum, plus there’s a lovely chalky minerality.’

£16.41 Enotria&Coe

Domaine du Pré Baron, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Nigel Lister found this ‘very aromatic, it feels New World almost, with juicy succulent, passion fruit notes’. ‘It’s certainly herbaceous, with fresh citrus and a touch of sweetness and brisk acidity,’ added Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant.

£7.95 Boutinot

La Voûte, Touraine Chenonceaux 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘The nose shows citrus fruit, grapefruit and lime with hints of floral blossom; there’s a nice peachy palate and decent length,’ said Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants.

£11.82 Liberty Wines

Domaine de Pierre, Gamay de Touraine 2016, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Bright cherry and rose hip aromas with a touch of mushroom,’ noted team leader Nigel Lister, adding: ‘The palate is fresh with fairly elegant fruit and decent concentration.’

£9.57 Enotria&Coe

Alliance Loire, La Divatte, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘A light style, with lemon and stoney mineral aromatics; dry and fresh with golden fruit and a nice mineral finish,’ said Moio Restaurant’s Carolina W Seibel.

£7.46 Enotria&Coe

Cave des Vignerons de Saumur, La Cabriole, Saumur Blanc 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Aromatics of white stone fruit and citrus with minerals,’ noted team leader Tom Forrest, adding: ‘The palate has some nicely rounded stone fruit and a creamy suggestion of lees stirring and there’s a nice yeasty prickle on the finish.’

£8.33 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre 2017, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

Beatrice Bessi of 67 Pall Mall loved the ‘very vibrant palate, so refreshing!’ and found that ‘the nose is quite herbal with nice fresh cut grass and asparagus and there’s a nice flinty note, too’. ‘Good value in Sancerre terms,’ added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.

£15.53 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de la Chauvinière, Granit de Chateau-Thebaud, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2013, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£13.83 Enotria&Coe

Domaine de Pierre, Touraine Oisly 2017, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£10.44 Enotria&Coe

Château de Fosse-Sèche, Arcane, Saumur 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£22.33 Top Selection

Cave des Vignerons de Saumur, La Cabriole, Saumur Rouge 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£8.33 Enotria&Coe

Cave des Vignerons de Saumur, Touraine Sauvignon Les Roches 2017, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£8.52 Enotria&Coe

Grands Chais de France, Pouilly-Fumé Pierre Brevin 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Joseph Mellot, La Bardine, Menetou-Salon 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Joseph Mellot, Les Thureaux, Menetou-Salon 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£11.38 Hatch Mansfield

Domaine Laporte, Organic Sancerre La Comtesse 2016, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£23.08 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Laporte, Organic Sancerre Grand Rochoy 2017, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£23.31 Enotria&Coe

 

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