Winner Details

Loire

Rather than one story, the Loire is actually several, with restaurant must-stocks like Sancerre (and Sauvignon Blanc), pricier big-list options like Pouilly Fumé/Fuissé, food-friendly but underappreciated Chenins and love-em-or-hate-em options like Muscadet and the Cab Franc reds.

There have been big volume issues for the Valley’s producers over the past decade, with frosts heavily hitting production levels, but the quality of what’s left has been impressive, and for the past couple of years we’ve managed to put together a broad range of styles in this part of our Gold List.

The big issues seem to be less about quality than style: do you want your Sancerres slimline or riper, your Chenins dry and zingy or richer and off-dry?

From The Tasting Teams

‘Loire Sauvignon Blanc is one of those must-list wines, and these were very good overall – lovely elegant wines with good structure.’ Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns

‘Cab Franc is a difficult grape to do as a single grape variety, though when it’s well made it’s very good.’ Janusz Sasiadek, Mercato Metropolitano

‘For the Sauvignon Blancs, I was most keen on the £13-£14 price point, where they had more texture and ripeness.’ Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London

‘Year after year you see this dichotomy between those that want to be Old World Sancerre, and those that want to be New World.’ Claire Love, Loves Consultancy

‘I tend to prefer fuller, slightly off-dry, richer styles of Chenin. They are great for fun food pairings like fish and chips, or pho and Vietnamese food. Massively underrated.’ Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club

‘The Loire makes summery wines for drinking in nice weather. It’s an important flight for sommeliers because it’s something you can sell easily.’ Luma Monteiro, Wineria

‘No matter what wine list you have you’re going to have Sancerre.’ Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen

‘The red flight was up and down. I was expecting a lot more from it.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

Award winners

Found 33 wines

France: Loire, inc. Sancerre

Château de Fesles , Chenin Sec 2017, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Quite rich and ripe, in a modern style, with good levels of ripeness.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade. 'Nice crunchy apple combined with some warm lemon flavours, and with a slightly herbaceous character adding some depth.' Giancarlo Cuccuru, The Ned. 'Crisp green apples and some honey, leading to waxy notes and crisp lemon on the palate, with a mineral finish.' Tom Forrest, team leader.

£7.34 Wine Importers

Donatien Bahuaud, Sancerre 2018, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'A beautifully crafted wine with nice weight and structure. This is built to last, and really enticing on the nose.' Olivier Marie, team leader. 'A ripe, modern style with lemon curd and green apple, as well as some mineral notes, and a chalky finish.' Tom Forrest, team leader. 'Light and elegant, this is a great wine to pair with chicken and pork dishes.' Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen.

£22.03 Orchidées, Maisons de Vin

Donatien Bahuaud, La Bibliothèque, Pouilly-Fumé 2018, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'A complex, very engaging wine with depth of flavour. Clearly a wine for a serious list at this price.' Martin Lam, team leader. 'A rich and full style with some savoury spice alongside fresh nettle and citrus.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards.' Enticingly harmonious and voluptuous, with great pace and restraint. Quality fruit handled with savvy winemaking and elegance.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone.

£18.55 Orchidées, Maisons de Vin

Pierre Sourdais, Chinon, Tradition, Organic 2018, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Lovely on the nose, with oaky, toasty aromas, floral red fruit and some tertiary notes. The palate is rounded, with more tertiary and toast notes, culminating in a good finish with some pleasant green notes.' José Hernandez, Hakkasan. 'This is quite the fruit bomb, with a dollop of clotted cream, all leading to some good acidity on the palate.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club.

£11.98 Enotria&Coe

Louise Chéreau, Katharos, Muscadet sans Soufre Ajouté 2018, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Oxidative and honeyed, this is a mature and oily style, with a ripe and mineral finish.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade. 'Peach and lychee notes here, with a touch of sweet lemon and bright acidity.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Candied lemon notes, combined with yellow apple and acacia, as well as some yellow flower notes.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris.

£11.98 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine Tabordet, Pouilly-Fumé 2018, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'Delicious, with subtle and refined Sauvignon Blanc aromas together with some chalky minerality. This is clean, vibrant and intense, with acidity well integrated with the juicy fruit core.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. 'Very aromatic and pungent, with floral notes combining with citrus and green fruits. There's good concentration of fruit to balance the vivid acidity here.' Luma Monteiro, Wineria.

£16.12 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine de La Rouletière, Patrimoine, Vouvray Sec 2015, Loire, France

Gold medal winner

'A butterscotch, creamy lactic nose leads to orange nectarine fruit character and a lovely richness that ends juicy and moreish. Very refreshing.' Jade Koch, team leader. 'Lychee, pineapple and a touch of lifted green apple, with honey and Greek yoghourt on the finish. This is a really good and widely pairable wine showing some great value.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club.

£16.10 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine du Pré Baron, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Loire, France

Gold medal winner By the glass

'There's some juicy, fleshy fruit here alongside some typical herbaceous notes. This really delivers for its price point.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. 'Lifted and ripe, with gooseberry, tropical fruit and citrus on the nose, leading to ripeness on the palate along with more than enough acidity to balance. A great gastro or quality pub wine.' Charlie Young, team leader.

£7.95 Boutinot

Joseph Mellot, Le Chant des Vignes,Pouilly-Fumé 2019, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Ripe and deep, fresh and complex, with notes of ground almonds, melon and grapefruit, and a great finish.' Charlie Young, team leader. 'True to type, and good value, with a rich flavour profile, but with good acidity and fruit components.' Martin Lam, team leader. 'Lovely balance of fruit, acidity and minerality. Elegant and persistent.' Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns.

£9.66 Hatch Mansfield

Joseph Mellot, Domaine des Mariniers, Pouilly-Fumé 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Very crisp and green, with incredible freshness and really good purity of flavour. Green phenolic notes are well balanced with fruit, providing a pleasurable palate.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. 'Steely and mineral, elegant and precise. This is very intense, with a complex, long finish.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone.

£10.94 Hatch Mansfield

Domaine de La Villaudière, Sancerre Rouge 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'A delicate, charming summer-berry nose that's quite perfumed. The palate is much more intense, with wild red bramble fruit, strawberries and flowers, and mineral notes too. A very elegant wine with a pure cascade of flavours, and great intensity and style, with a classy finish.' Angela Reddin, team leader.

£15.26 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Domaine Minchin, La Tour Saint Martin, Menetou-Salon, Pommerais 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'An elegant nose with soft cherry, cranberry and nuances of pink grapefruit, with a nicely approachable palate.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club. 'With ripe cherry and tobacco notes, this is savoury and delicious, with some earthiness too.' Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting.

£15.68 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Alain Gueneau, La Griffe du Silex, Sancerre Blanc 2017, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'Flinty, smoky, mineral notes, with a lemon-peel freshness and some notes of pith too, adding complexity.' Tom Forrest, team leader. 'This has a really pretty nose and good fruit intensity, with a lovely finish.' Salvatore Russo, The Hippodrome Casino. 'Wonderful minerality coming through, with a prominent salinity.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£18.10 Top Selection

Francis Blanchet, Pouilly-Fume, Calcite 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'A delicate aromatic profile, with crisp and zesty acidity.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'Rich, clean citrus, apple and white peach notes, with lovely integrated acidity and mineral structure, leading to a clean, fresh finish with fruit and minerality lingering.' Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns.

£13.65 Bibendum

Domaine des Forges, Le Moulin de Gué, Savennières 2018, Loire, France

Silver medal winner

'A very intense and complex nose, with quince, banana skin and guava fruit, leading to a ripe, zingy, precise palate.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade. 'Green apple at the start and finish, with a touch of citrus and some floral notes sandwiched in between.' Giancarlo Cuccuru, The Ned.

£14.95 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Langlois-Chateau, Château de Fontaine-Audon, Cuvée Silex 2018, Sancerre, France

Silver medal winner

'Lean elderflower and geranium on the nose, with good balance of acidity on the palate, and some nettle and more geranium.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'Rather expressive, with great purity and definition, and pristine fruit.' Olivier Marie, team leader. 'Crisp and clean, this is a good representation of Sancerre.' Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen.

£12.05 Mentzendorff & Co

Drouet Frères, Saumur Blanc 2018, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'With light lemon zest and cream, this is delicate and poised, with green apple finishing on the palate once the acidity has subsided. A really well put together wine.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Red apple with some stone fruit and fresh acidity, leading to a balanced finish.' Giancarlo Cuccuru, The Ned.

£10.77 Orchidées, Maisons de Vin

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Cuvée Insolite 2018, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'A very mineral nose accompanied by some stone and vegetal characters on the palate - a very pleasant wine overall.' Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen. 'This is showing breed and class. It's exquisite and beautifully delineated, in a lifted and ethereal style.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£23.63 Enotria&Coe

Domaine des Ballandors, Quincy 2019, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'A bone-dry, sappy Sauvignon Blanc with true Loire character.' Martin Lam, team leader. 'Appealing sweet Granny Smith notes on the nose lead to a fruity core with juicy, refreshing acidity.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. 'Gooseberry and fresh-cut grass with lemon curd and white flowers.' Jurijs Nemkovs, StreetXO.

£12.12 Liberty Wines

Grands Chais de France, Pouilly-Fumé Pierre Brevin 2018, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'Delicious soft citrus and stone fruit, with a lovely steely, mineral backbone. An elegant wine with great structure.' Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns. 'A good perfume on the nose of white flowers combined with citrus and pear, and a vibrant palate with balanced acidity.' Luma Monteiro, Wineria.

£13.22 Majestic Commercial

Caves des Vins de Sancerre, Sancerre Duc Armand 2018, Loire, France

Bronze medal winner

'Flinty, lean and precise on the nose, leading to an austere palate with lean, green-skinned apple, some crab apple and lemon-zest citrus.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'Youthful and attractive, with a herbal character and a candied, lemon-waxy texture with honeysuckle and notes of hawthorne.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£13.49 Majestic Commercial

Joseph Mellot, Les Collinettes, Sancerre 2019, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Joseph Mellot, La Bardine, Menetou-Salon 2019, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Sauvion, O, Haut Poitou 2019, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Drouet Frères, Menetou-Salon 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Drouet Frères, Vouvray 2019, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

Domaine Fouassier, Iconoclaste, Pinot Noir 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£18.85 Bibendum

Domaine Fouassier, Sancerre Clos Paradis 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£17.16 Bibendum

Domaine des Grandes Espérances, La Java des Grandes Espérances, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£9.82 Matthew Clark

Les Celliers de Cérès, Sancerre, Le Petit Broux 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£17.71 Enotria&Coe

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre 2019, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£16.76 Enotria&Coe

Alain Gueneau, La Guiberte, Sancerre Blanc 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

£17.34 Top Selection

Domaine Merlin-Cherrier, Sancerre 2018, Loire, France

Commended medal winner

 

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