Sauvignon Blanc Ambassadors, 2011

It is now three years since I travelled to London to listen to Sam Harrop MW introduce the InterLoire Cabernet Franc Ambassadors for the first time. It was an instructive tasting, even if many of the flavour profiles I experienced on that day were gathered too closely together at the greener, more vegetal, tomato-leaf and celeriac end of the spectrum for my own taste. Despite my thoughts on the wines, I had no doubt in my mind that the project, which provided interested winemakers with consultation from an internationally-minded Master of Wine with the field experience to advise on harvest decisions and winemaking processes, was well-intended and much needed.

Sauvignon Blanc Ambassadors

I was therefore glad to hear a year or so later of a sister project, again spearheaded by Sam Harrop on behalf of InterLoire, this time with a focus on Sauvignon Blanc. So was Loire courtier Charles Sydney who said at the time he welcomed “anything that makes growers think….especially if it makes them understand that no-one is obliged to buy their wines….they do actually have to make wines to please the consumer“. Whereas the Cabernet Franc Project has a very open feel to it – not only does it allow in wines from a multitude of different appellations and vintages, but also wines not necessarily made from Cabernet Franc (there was a 100% Cot included in the tasting I attended!) – the Sauvignon Blanc Project is much more tightly defined. Not only does it focus only on wines from the Touraine appellations or vin de pays (so no Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Menetou-Salon and so on), it also looks at a single vintage; it kicked off in 2009 with the 2008 vintage, and this year the project concerns 2010. It would also appear that no other varieties are included, so there is no Malbec sneaking in here!

Nevertheless, despite the project having run for three vintages, my experience of the Sauvignon Blanc Ambassadors has been, until now, non-existent. That was set to change when the four wines described below arrived on my doorstep, giving me an unsolicited opportunity to taste the Sauvignon Blancs – or at least a small sample of them – chosen by Sam and his team, and to get at least get a feel for the 2011 selection.

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