Wednesday was another day of judging on behalf of Decanter, on the Decanter World Wine Awards, and sadly this was my last day here this year, as I have commitments on Thursday and Friday that I simply can’t break. That’s a shame, as the Loire judging led by Jim Budd is continuing on for another two days, and no doubt there are many good wines yet to be tasted.
Today’s panel was only slightly different to that of yesterday. Myself and chairman Jim Budd were again joined by Loire expert Richard Kelley MW, pictured below in a similarly serious pose as that struck yesterday.
Replacing Véronique Rivest, who was judging on a different panel today, was Nigel Wilkinson of the RSJ restaurant. Nigel is a stalwart of the Loire panel and he has been tasting, buying, drinking, serving (his restaurant is renowned for its Loire-focused wine list) and judging the wines of the Loire far longer than I have.
There was joy in the variety of wines today, as although there was a fair amount of Sauvignon Blanc in the middle of the day, from almost every Loire appellation you could care to name, there were plenty of other styles too. We started with some sparkling wines and then Muscadet, and finished up with a sequence of flights featuring Chenin Blanc (mainly Savennières, Saumur and a little demi-sec Vouvray), red wines (mainly Touraine Pinot Noir, Gamay and Côt) and then a flight of sweet wines, from the Coteaux du Layon and Bonnezeaux appellations. Quality was up and down (isn’t it always) but there were certainly some gold medal opportunities here today.