Project Sauvignon Blanc de Loire.... I’m sure you all thought ‘Sancerre’ or Pouilly-Fumé when you read that? In fact the panel tasting I did last week was for AOC Touraine and VDP Val de Loire wines. And unlike every other judging panel I’ve been on, this was not about awarding medals. With just 4 tasters (Sarah Jane Evans MW, Sarah Ahmed, Cat Lomax and myself) plus chairman Sam Harrop MW we had a very tight focus, and two objectives: firstly to choose ‘Ambassador’ wines, to represent the Sauvignon Blanc de Loire project for 2010, and secondly to give clear feedback to the producers whose wines were not picked.
The tasting, run by InterLoire and Vin de Pays du Val de Loire was part of a project to assist producers make wines for export to the UK. The majority of these wines have only been sold locally before, so export is a big step. The organisers have helpfully carried out research to identify the UK’s expectations of ‘Sauvignon Blanc de Loire’, and Sam’s role is to give guidance in the vineyard and winery. Hence the need for feedback: apparently it really helps producers to understand why their wine is (or isn’t) chosen.
The Ambassador wines (no names yet, but I’ll let you know when they’re announced) were terrific, with a range of styles from fruity (tropical) through citrus to herbal. All were 2009 vintage, and I gather they’ll all be at LIWF. I hope we see most of them available here before too long, as I'm keen to taste a few at Yauatcha. They could be a great match with dim sum.