Judging in the Concours Mondial Sauvignon Blanc

The Loire at Blois

I’m just back from a few days in the Loire, where I was part of a large international jury judging the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon competition.

The location of the tasting

We stayed in Blois, and tasted in the rather spectacular castle of Blois. We were some 60 judges, divided into teams of five. My team was chaired by Dr Paul White, and included Mark Devere and Jean Cristophe Bourgeois. They were great fun to hang out with.

Mark Devere and Paul White

After two weeks judging in the International Wine Challenge, this tasting was a stroll in the park, with 39 wines the first day and 30 the second. We tasted just during the morning.

The Concours uses a fairly rigid scoring system where the 100 point overall score is divided up into several different criteria. You get the hang of filling in the forms fairly quickly. The forms are fed into a scanner and a computer works out the point average, and the results were announced by Saturday evening, which was remarkably quick. You can see them here.

On the first evening, before tasting began, we were treated to a walk around tasting of Sauvignons from around the world. Here are my notes on the non-Loire wines:

Cape Point Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011 South Africa
Lively, intense and aromatic with lovely pure flavours of grapefruit, herb and pear. Vibrant, intense and exotic. 94/100

Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Tight and lively with lovely focused aromatics. Grapefruit and green pepper flavours. Zippy, fresh and pure. 92/100

Quoin Rock Nicobar 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
From the Simonsig, this is lively, fresh, pure and intense with a mineral edge to the crisp fruit. Very fine. 92/100

Torres Fransola Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Penedes, Spain
Lovely balance here between the ripe pear and white peach fruit, and the more mineral, citrussy flavours. Very stylish. 92/100

Tement Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Sudsteirmark, Austria
A rich, bold, full flavoured Sauvignon with textured melon and pear fruit, as well as some herbiness. 93/100

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Ripe rich style with green pepper and herbs, as well as a broad texture. Combines tropical flavours with greenness, in a rich wine. 90/100

Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lively and precise with grapefruit and mineral characters, together with some herbal notes. Very rich and bold with lovely weight, as well as precision. 93/100

Vieris Sauvignon Vie di Romans 2010 Friuli Isonzo, Italy
Rich and ripe yet balanced with pear, melon and passionfruit, as well as white peaches. Very fruity and textured with some nutty notes, as well as grapefruit. Beautifully aromatic. 93/100

I’ll post notes on the many Loire wines tried on the trip later.

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