So day two of my stint on the Loire panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards has drawn to a close. It was another good day of tasting, and joining chairman Jim Budd and myself on the panel today was a Loire DWWA stalwart, Nigel Wilkinson (below, left) of RSJ Restaurant, who has judged here many more times than I have I am sure (I’m also quite confident he has tasted many more wines from the Loire than I have!). The fourth member was from the trade, another strong character as far as the Loire is concerned, Jason Yapp (below right), of Yapp Brothers. For readers outside the UK, Robin Yapp (Jason’s father) was an early and dedicated importer of less well-known wines – including those from the Loire – into the UK. Jason now runs the business following his father’s retirement.
The morning was taken up by Sauvignon Blanc again, in fact – other than a few examples of vin de pays Chardonnay – the entire morning was dedicated to Pouilly-Fumé. These showed more strength of character (unsurprisingly) than the generic Touraines, Reuillys and Quincys we tasted yesterday.
The afternoon brought some Chenin Blanc (as seen above – hurrah!), in various guises. These included vin de pays, Saumur, Savennières, Vouvray and various sweet wines, everything from Coteaux de Saumur to Quarts de Chaume. I’m delighted to say standards here were very high; as a panel we are not known for dishing out the medals in a generous fashion, nevertheless this afternoon we awarded several including a few golds and silvers, giving recognition to some really great wines.
Tomorrow – surely some of the Loire’s ever-improving red wines? And I haven’t seen any Sancerre yet, either.