The Discovery Trade Tasting announced

Posted on July 8, 2021 by Sebastien

The big reveal is being hosted live.  For the first time in two years, buyers, wine influencers, press and writers have the opportunity to taste all 100 top wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon Sud de France & Sud Ouest Top 100 under one roof.  Whilst there is plenty of scope by the trade for new discovery, as 60% of the Top 100 winning wines are seeking UK distribution, some of the wines are already being successfully distributed in UK supermarkets, independent retailers or wine merchants.  The event in London showcases the diversity of Occitanie, which is the largest wine region in the world.  It encompasses the Languedoc and the Roussillon vineyards, through to part of the Rhône Valley and the South-West.  This year’s entries reveal a surge in quality wines with an organic or sustainable certification.

The Top 100 Discovery tasting takes place on Thursday 9 September 2021, 10am to 5.30pm at One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.  It includes two masterclasses presented by Tim Atkin MW, who also chaired the panel of buyers and experts for selecting the Top 100.  He presents the great white wines of the region at 12 noon, and personal picks from the Top 100 at 2pm.  Registration is free and visitors can sign-up to the tasting and masterclasses now.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/top-100-discovery-trade-press-tasting-tickets-161609507387

Visitors will receive their own Top 100 tasting catalogue with fresh commentary about the region and details about each winning wine.  Additionally they can select their own choice of boxed sample wines from the Top 100 to take away and review in their own time.  The event will be organized to respect social distancing measures.  Staggered entry times will control the flow of visitors, and wines will be poured for guests, to ensure a comfortable and relaxed event.

The 2021 quest to discover the new Top 100 best wines from Occitanie featured a rigorous blind judging of 459 wines from 130 producers, narrowed down to the final Top 100 best wines, early in Spring.  Isabelle Kanaan, Executive Director for the Bureau de la Région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée in London, comments, “We plan to create an efficient, enjoyable format, so each individual wine can be assessed by visitors.  At last we can present the full Top 100 for the trade to see, taste, compare and discuss with wine industry colleagues, and hear the latest happenings from Sud de France, despite the limited opportunity to travel.”

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Q&A With Tim Atkin

Posted on May 17, 2021 by Sebastien

It’s two years since the last Top 100 competition.  Have there been any notable changes in Occitanie winemaking that stand out for you?

This year’s tasting was conducted in the shadow of the April frosts, which were some of the worst that (parts of) the region has experienced in the last 50 years. So I think there will be less 2021 to go round, alas. On a more positive note, I think we are seeing more and more focus on place (terroir if you like), an acknowledgement that old vines are a trump card for the region and better and better blends, both red and white.

Will wines from Occitanie, the Sud-Ouest, ride out the recent challenges and continue to grow in popularity?

I certainly hope so. Occitanie has three big advantages in my view: diversity of style (there really is something for everyone in the biggest wine region in the world), impressive quality at the top end and value for money. You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy the very best and I think consumers appreciate that.

The reputation of Occitanie has been solid for offering expressive wines with diversity, personality and good value for money. What next?

Greater appreciation of the top end would help. I don’t really like the term “icon” wines – is that one word or two, a friend of mine once joked – but I think the region needs a few more wines that are internationally appreciated as being among the very best wines of France. Demand helps create more demand. There’s nothing wrong with being regarded as a value for money region, but Occitanie needs more than that to move to the next stage. Marketing is also part of it, which is where the Top 100 can play an important role.

Are there new initiatives in sustainability within the region, and how are they affecting the winemaking?

We’ve just crunched the numbers for this year’s Top 100 and I’m delighted that wines with a “green” focus did really well: organic (17%), biodynamic (3%), sustainable/HVE (20%) and Lutte Raisonnée/Terra Vitis (65). HVE (High Environmental Value) and Terra Vitis are increasingly important movements in Occitanie and our tasting confirmed that. The region could develop a reputation for sustainability, which is something that is increasingly important to many consumers. Old vines that stand up to the heat and having a climate that is generally dry and low in disease pressure are important factors, but so is the attitude of the producers.

With less opportunity for merchants, sommeliers, buyers and consumers to travel to Occitanie recently, and for producers to visit the UK, how important is the role of the Top 100?

I’m obviously biased, as I’m the chairman of the competition, but I’d say more vital than ever! It was great to receive such a strong entry and it was noticeable that all of our judges were very keen to be part of the Top 100. There’s obviously no substitute for tasting in the region, but it covers a very big area, so it’s hard to see everything anyway. As for producers, I think it’s important that they know their wines are still welcome and appreciated in the UK.

What are the judges looking for when selecting individual wines – and also for the Top 100 as a whole?

It seems obvious, but the answer is the best wines. We don’t deliberately set out to curate a collection that is representative of the region, but it usually works out that way. This year, the split was 52% red, 36% rosé, 52% red and 1% amber in terms of colour, 95% still, 2% sparkling and 3% sweet and split 72%/28% between AOCs and IGPs. All of the regions – Rhône, Languedoc, Roussillon, Sud-Ouest and Pays d’Oc – were represented too. So I’m very happy with the final list.

What are your recommendations to the trade when reviewing and refreshing selections of Occitanie wines on their lists this year?

Enjoy the diversity! And the value for money that the region offers. Occitanie is like a whole country to itself in a way. There are so many styles of wine and grape varieties to consider. I also think that, in its long history, the region has never made better wines.

How did the shift to drinking at home during 2020 influence how consumers are drinking now? 

I think it may be too early to say. We need to come out of the other side of the pandemic before we can say what the longer-term effects will be. But in 2020, it was clear that the on-trade suffered, while the off-trade (especially the supermarkets, but also mail order companies) did well. The next year or two will give us a better idea of how much people will change the way they buy and drink wine.

Over the nine years of the competition, what have you personally enjoyed about the judging day?

The camaraderie and the teamwork. Having spent the last year at home tasting on my own, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy discussing wines with other people and being part of a passionate, knowledgeable group who all want to select the best wines from Occitanie and put them in front of consumers and the trade.

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The Top 100 unveiled at the London Wine Fair

Posted on May 17, 2021 by Sebastien

The Top 100 award-winning wine shave been unveiled at the Digital London Wine Fair.

The Sud de France Top 100 gives an authoritative, current snapshot of the Occitanie wine region, which is the largest in the world. Occitanie encompasses the Languedoc and the Roussillon vineyards, part of the Rhône Valley and the South-West. There is plenty of scope by the trade for new discovery, as 60% of the Top 100 winning wines are seeking UK distribution. Trophies were awarded to Best Red, Best White, Best Rosé, Best Sparkling and Best Dessert/Fortified.

Chairman Tim Atkin MW led 16 top writers and principal trade buyers in blind tasting through 459 wines, entered from 130 producers. Wines which express individual terroir, offer drinking enjoyment and memorability were selected and judges were also given the opportunity to identify a personal favourite coup de coeur choice.

Trade buyers may request their own individually selected sample sets via their registration for the digital London Wine Fair, or by directly contacting Bureau de la Région Occitanie, contactUK@suddefrance-dvpt.

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THE TOP 100 IS OPEN FOR ENTRIES

Posted on February 23, 2021 by Sebastien

The Sud de France Top 100 competition is now open for entries.  Taking place for the ninth year, it goes from strength to strength in representing the best that Occitanie can offer – winemaking quality, appeal and good value from the region.

The competition is back for 2021 after it was put on hold in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  It relaunches with a brand new programme of activities which features online and live event opportunities as the year progresses, to introduce these wines widely in the UK trade.

The Sud de France Top 100 is a dedicated showcase for the best wines of the year from Occitanie.  This includes the vineyards of Languedoc, Roussillon, most of the South West and a few wines from the Rhone Valley (Lirac, Costieres de Nimes etc.).

Around 600 wines are entered from producers and narrowed down to just 100 during a rigorous blind tasting by a panel of leading industry experts, chaired by Tim Atkin MW.  A broad range of on and off-trade buyers, sommeliers, journalists and writers are selected to taste and re-taste to agree which wines make it into the Top 100.

The awarded wines participate and benefit from a comprehensive calendar of tastings and promotions.  This includes a media plan with Harpers Wine & Spirit and a stand at the new digital London Wine Fair in May.

How to enter your wines

Registration is open only to producers, so the same wine can’t be entered twice.  However, importers and distributors can encourage their agencies to enter.

Closing date is 17 March

To enter, please visit the page

 

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Q&A with Tim Atkin MW

Posted on May 20, 2018 by Sebastien

The best wines from the South of France are celebrated in The Top 100 Awards. For both the trade and consumers, it is a definitive list of memorable, crafted, vibrant wines to look out for. Tim Atkin MW is chairman of the judges, and here he talks about the competition and what it seeks to do

Which aspects impress you when judging this full array of entries?
Two things above all. The improving quality, year on year, and the sheer diversity of wine styles this region produces. There are entire countries that are more homogenous than Occitanie.

What kind of wines do the judges rate most highly?
We look for wines with personality and individuality, wines that have a sense of place. It’s an over-used word these day, but balance is important too. As a group, I’d say we’re less impressed by power and lashings of new oak, and partial to balance and harmony. We don’t taste the samples with food, but we have one eye on the table, as it were.

Wines from Occitanie are stocked by virtually every quality merchant. Which styles from the Languedoc- Roussillon and the Sud-Ouest should make the foundation of such a list?
Make the most of that diversity, I say, and also of the value for money that
Occitanie offers. The varietal wines are great and, where more “international” grapes are concerned, have helped to increase its profile, but don’t miss out on lesser-known “local” grapes such as Négrette, Fer Servadou, Vermentino and Gros Manseng, or on blends, which are really exciting at their best. Mediterranean red blends are arguably the standout category in the region. For new things, keep an eye on Albariño, the improving rosés and Pinot Noir.


What makes this huge region continue to be so highly regarded
by and essential to merchants and sommeliers?
Diversity and value for money, most of all. But it’s also a very beautiful region to visit with real tourist potential. And it’s easy to get to, so merchants and sommeliers can visit for themselves and have a look at the different terroirs, appellations and IGPs.

Are there recent developments in the region which have helped the winemaking improve?
Less focus on new oak in some of the top wines has been a positive development for me. And also the recognition that Carignan can be a wonderful grape when it’s grown in the right place.

Over the time you have been chair of the judges, what are the main changes you have seen among the
wines entered each year?
A gradual, but impressive improvement. As the region’s image has improved, so more top producers are investing there and producing what, at their best, are exceptional wines. I think the value for money has
got better and better, too. These are wines that often over-deliver.

What is the significance of the annual Top 100 to consumers?
It’s a curated list, chosen by people who know the region well
and understand its wine styles. It’s also important that most of the top
producers enter, so we have the luxury of picking 100 really good wines from those that we taste on the day.

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Making the tough calls for the cause

Posted on May 20, 2018 by Jack

The annual Languedoc-Roussillon/Sud Ouest Sud de France Top 100 tasting, chaired by Master of Wine Tim Atkin, is popular with tasters precisely because of the exciting array of wine styles being shown from across this broad and very geographically diverse region.

Taking place in the sun-slaked studios of The Worx in southwest London, the day begins with an expectant hush as the judges gather and are assigned to a table and tasting team. Tasting sheets at the ready, pens poised, palates primed, the flights of wines then began to emerge, placed in neat rows on the tables, with no more information offered than the broader region of origin of the wines.

It’s here that the years of experience and knowledge, the expertise and analytical skills of the best tasters kicks in.

As with past events, some of the best in the business were on hand to judge this year’s Top 100.

They included consultant Peter McCombie MW, wine writer and southern French expert Rosemary George MW, specialist importer Nik Darlington of Red Squirrel Wine, critic Anthony Rose, blogger Jamie Goode, Fullers wine buyer Neil Bruce, Bibendum buying director Andrew Shaw, along with several other trade luminaries and communicators besides.

First up was crisp, palate-freshening line up of fashionable Picpoul – a good start to the day. The pace then picked up, with IGP Chardonnay, other IGP whites, IGP Grenache-based rosé, IGP reds, AOC white Languedoc, AOC red Rhone, AOC red Pic Saint Loup, AOC red Minnervois and AOC red Saint Chinian all in a mornings work.

What also makes this an enjoyable challenge is that some 2/3rds of the wines don’t currently have a UK importer. Top 100 is designed to shine a light on what the region has to offer, and it certainly achieves this aim.

Thus, for both buyers and journalists in the room, there’s a real sense of discovery – which adds an element of intrigue to proceedings when you’ve unearthed a real gem and then have to wait until the end of the day to find out what is was that knocked you out (in a good way).

There’s also no conferring among the judges, until the end of a flight, when scores and notes are already written, unless a bottle is deemed faulty and a second sample is called into play. However, as the Sud de France Top 100 competition works by elevating the very best from several hundred wines entered, the judges do then get busy comparing scores and discussing – if there are any wines hanging in the balance – which samples should be put forward as being worthy of making the final cut.

My team was led by the highly experienced taster and judge Charles Metcalf, who gave equal weighting to all comments and arguments as to whether a wine was worthy or not and should go through. If we couldn’t agree, or a wine was just teetering on the edge of ‘in’ or ‘out’, then that sample ended up on a table with any other similar styles from other tables’ flights, to be reassessed against the quality of those that had definitely made the grade.

As said, it’s hard if enjoyable work, so a welcome bite of lunch and chance to catch up on trade gossip allows the palate to recover from the onslaught of the morning. Chips are all too tempting when you’ve tasted through so many wines, soothing the tastebuds with addictive ease.

Then it’s back to work again, with another 10 flights, covering various Languedoc and other southern French styles, including well-known AOC’s including Corbieres, Faugeres and the very good whites from Limoux, plus another fresh flight of rosés.

The overall quality, as the judges agreed, was high, with the tasting also re-impressing on all the incredible diversity available from the Mediterranean-influenced southern regions under scrutiny.

We hope you’ll agree if you know or taste any of these wines – it’s a cracking selection, covering pretty much all bases, from enjoyable, easy-drinking whites, reds and rosés, to complex and quite sublime food-friendly styles that can sit with the best in the world.

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CLAIM A FREE CASE OF WINE

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Sebastien

Are you looking for wines with “personnality and individuality” that “overdeliver”?

Those words are not from us but from Tim Atkin who chaired a panel of 15 judges at the  Sud de France Langedoc Roussillon/South West Top 100 competition. With  37 different apellations and over 30 grapes represented, the Top 100 reflects truly the huge diversity of styles and appellations of the new Occitanie region in the south of France.

The good news for you is that  two thirds of the Top 100 wines are not distributed in the UK and we are are offering a mixed case of 6 bottles in order to help you to source new wines.
To order your case of wine, you need to register here and choose the wine you wish to receive (limited stocks apply). Once you have tasted the wines, we will  just ask you to give some feeback on each wine you received.

REGISTER HERE

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TIM ATKIN MW LAUNCHES THE 2017 TOP 100 RESULTS AT THE LONDON WINE FAIR

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Jack

The celebration year starts with the opportunity to taste all new Top 100 wines and meet producers at the London Wine Fair 22-25 May 2017.   A nationwide campaign will assist wine merchants and restaurants to market these wines, as the competition showcases the diversity and quality from Occitanie (including the Languedoc-Roussillon vineyards as well as part of the Rhône Valley and the South-West), the biggest wine growing region in France.  The campaign follows through with a consumer tastings programme.    www.suddefrancetop100.co.uk

The Top 100 encourages producers of all sizes to show their best wines without restrictive criteria such as pricing bands.  This has created a welcome environment for open-minded judging and attracts an impressive panel of judges.  The campaign actively promotes the distribution and availability of these Top 100 wines in the UK via on and off-trade outlets.  It also encourages consumers to taste and buy these wines and continue to discover more wines from the region.

The expanded region is the world’s largest wine producing region, with a growing reputation for exceptional quality wines at a variety of price points.  In this landmark fifth year, the Sud de France – Languedoc-Roussillon / Sud-Ouest Top 100 competition not only helps the wine trade choose from some of the best appellations and terroirs made with a large array of international and indigenous grape varieties, it also reaches out to consumers.

The blind tasting by a panel of leading experts chaired by Tim Atkin MW took place 10 April 2017 in London.

You can browse them all here.

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REWARDING THE OUTSTANDING AND THE EXCELLENT

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Jack

With an expanded vineyard area and more grape varieties in the
mix, this year’s Sud de France competition really put the judges
through their paces

In its annual quest to find the best wines from one of the world’s most exciting regions, this year’s Sud de France Top 100 competition once again wowed the judges with a stunning range of top-quality reds, whites, rosés and sparklers.
Now in its fifth year, the competition was bigger than ever as the area covered by Sud de France has been expanded, so the wines come from even more diverse terroir and grape varieties.
And the expert judges who blind tasted all the wines to come up with the definitive 100 were unanimous in their conclusion that there has been a consistent upturn in quality from the region over the course of the competition.
Broadcaster and writer Oz Clark said: “Far more good wines are being entered. Winemakers have gone past an obsession to make big beast wines and are going back to making what we can drink with pleasure.”
And BBC Food and Drink presenter Joe Wadsack agreed, saying: “All categories have become more consistent over the five years of the Top 100 competition. There is genuinely a difference, and any obvious mistakes, such as over-oaking, are now eradicated. There is plenty I would enjoy drinking.
The job of judging is getting harder every year.” In a new twist this year, all the judges – who also included chairman Tim Atkin, the Wine Gang’s Anthony Rose, and writers Charles Metcalfe and Simon Woods – were asked to select their personal favourite coup de coeur wines, rather than award trophies, so they were looking for the wines they would enjoy drinking themselves, thus giving a personal point of reference when it comes to the top picks. In addition, there are still Best of Show Red and White wines and, for the first time this year, a Best in Show Rosé.
All the wines – which cover 25 domaines new to the Top 100 – will be available to taste across the country during roadshow events, including a week of tastings around Bastille Day on July 14.

Promotional work is also planned, either in-store or with online merchants, to further raise the profile of these exciting wines among consumers.
Forty per cent of the competition’s wines are available in the UK, with 83% costing above £10 RRP and 40% above £15.
Sud de France food & wine promotions manager Sébastien du Boullay said: “These are all premium wines which over-deliver at their price points.”
Once again the Sud de France Top 100 competition has shown that the region is one of
the most exciting and diverse in the world, with wines that showcase the skills of their producers in reflecting the terroir and honouring the grapes.
In the words of chairman of the judges Tim Atkin: “Southern French reds are some of the most exciting and individual in France, showing a real sense of place. But the whites are really catching up.
It’s not just the best varietal wines – Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc – but the blends that are worth seeking out, especially those that make the most of Mediterranean grapes.”
Happy tasting.

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MOST DYNAMIC FRENCH REGION

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Jack

A Q&A with Tim Atkin MW explains how the Top 100 competition
has evolved over the years and why it is so important

Tim Atkin MW, chairman of the judges, rounds up why the Top 100 continues to be an exciting landmark in the year of wine competitions.
Celebrating five years, it is a neat snapshot of the best wines from the South of France and what to look for.

How has the Top 100 competition evolved?
We are tasting better-made red wines with less oak and there is a slight
shift away from varietal wines. More wines have a discernible sense of
place in my view. We are also seeing more blended wines, which is what
the region does best, especially when it comes to the reds. This year the
competition expands westwards and I hope we will continue to see more
wines from Gascony, Cahors and the Pyrénées in the next few years.

Has the image of the region progressed?
The general perception of wines from the South of France has improved.
Winemaking in the region is evolving fast and the region deserves to
become more well known.

Is the region still the most dynamic in France?
Yes, it has an exciting energy about it. Occitanie is certainly large and
complex – and it is improving with every vintage. I love the fact that it
still has so much untapped potential.

What is the best way to begin to appreciate the wines of this vast
and diverse region?
Start away from the international grape varieties, such as Merlot and Cabernet.
Instead, seek out the Mediterranean grapes such as Cinsault, Vermentino
and Bourboulenc. There is plenty to discover. My best advice is simply, go
there. It is one of the world’s most beautiful vine growing regions. The
mountains, the plains and the sea reflect how the wines taste. Go and
enjoy the food and local hospitality, then concentrate on a few of the
appellations.
What are the judges looking for in defining the Top 100?
Above all, we choose wines we would enjoy drinking. Having a
proportion of new judges every year ensures a different approach and
perception of what the region is right now. Instead of trophies this year, we
asked judges to select their personal favourite coup de coeur wine. It
is a democratic way to identify outstanding wines and allows an
element of freedom and surprise.
What do Brits really like about wines from the South of France?
Enjoying wine is very much part of a relaxed holiday and lifestyle. More
people are exploring the diversity of the region and its broad range of
wines. Still, more awareness needs to be built around appellations, especially
now there is more to discover in the newly expanded Occitanie. Would
you believe, it covers an eighth of the whole of France?

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The 2016 edition is now open for registration

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Sebastien
The prestigious competition is back for the 4th year. Chaired by Tim Atkin MW, the competition objective is to identify the best of Languedoc-Roussillon wines and to promote them in the UK.
 .
The key dates

How to enter

  1. All AOP and IGP wine made in Languedoc Roussillon can enter. To see the full list of AOP and IGP please click  here
  2.  Wines without a designated origin  (Vin de France or Vin de Table) are not allowed.

Please note that only wine producers are eligible to register. If you are a wine importer or distributor, please contact your wine suppliers and encourage them to enter.

To register: http://suddefrance.co.uk/top100/

 

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TIM ATKIN MW LAUNCHES THE 2015 TOP 100 RESULTS AT THE LONDON INTERNATIONAL WINE FAIR

Posted on May 17, 2015 by Jack

The 2015 Top 100 results are now official, having been launched today at the London International Wine Fair by none other than Jury Chairman Tim Atkin MW. Back in April with the help of 20 leading wine industry experts, 100 wines were selected out of 600, and of those 19 trophies were awarded. You can browse them all here.

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WHY ALL EYES ARE ON THE LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON THIS YEAR?

Posted on May 16, 2015 by Jack

How has the Sud de France Languedoc-Roussillon Top 100 competition evolved during the three years you have been chairman of the judging panel?

The Top 100 has grown from an already established competition and now fully celebrates the wines and character of this complex and individual region. The wines are attracting more and more wine merchants, and consumer drinkers are ready to explore the Languedoc-Roussillon more adventurously. The competition is very well supported by the producers and our judges, and it helps sell the wines effectively. Many of our judging panel are very committed and keen to return each year. We are always discovering fresh new wine names. There is now also an increasing number of higher-end wines being entered, alongside familiar, very reliable brands which are able to produce consistent wines in bigger volumes.

How do you recommend starting to get to grips with appreciating this vast and diverse region?

Nobody can copy wines that are made to reflect terroir. Go down the varietal route and also look at the IGP wines where grape variety is the doorway to the wine. New World wines are leading the way back to this too. Most trophies in the Top 100 were chosen from designated regions, and there were outstanding wines among the blends too during our judging day.

What is so dynamic about the Languedoc-Roussillon region right now?

The modern Languedoc-Roussillon is full of history but it is not old. It is a relatively young wine region and so much of it is yet to be discovered by wine consumers. It has really developed in the past 20 years and has changed massively and rapidly. There are many new producers and styles of wine being made. The region is huge; twice the size of Bordeaux. Imagine the diversity when you have a landscape that ranges from high altitude through to terraces and plains. The best winemaking there is reflected in wines which give that sense of place and also those which are skilful blends – some of the best reds are blends. Look at the Piquepoul and Syrahs; explore the wines of Corbières and Saint-Chinian.

What can we look forward to next in the style of winemaking, experimentation and the wines becoming available on the market?

There has been huge improvement in quality year on year. We have seen this in the 2012s, 2013s and 2014s in the competition. Languedoc-Roussillon does not intend to make the most experimental wines, but you will see marginal movements. The region is maturing and the new winemakers are gaining so much experience. You will see every single winemaking style, including sparkling and fortified wines, and over 30 grape varieties. Supermarkets and multiples have embraced Piquepoul and Corbières, but could do better in offering more diversity. This gives great opportunity for independent merchants. Generally in the on-trade, wider representation is needed. There is so much value for money to be found.

What are judges looking for in compiling the Top 100 and naming the trophy winners?

We are looking for very skilfully, well made wines. Many of the wines we settled on were blends. The judges are delighted to see big-name domains, and we are also excited to discover new names that we have never seen before, going through to the trophy line up. In terms of regions, we have a wine from Terrasses du Larzac, two from Côtes du Roussillon, a wine from La Clape – one of the most historic areas – a AOC Faugères; also a Muscat sec and a AOC Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup blend. The two top trophies have been awarded to a AOC Corbières blanc and a AOC Saint-Chinian.

What do Brits really like about Languedoc-Roussillon wines? 

Prices continue to be very appealing. Consumers are increasingly buying into individual names, but still have some way to go in becoming fully familiar with the region. However, it is one of the easiest to promote. The countryside is beautiful, many people are enjoying relaxing holidays there and there is plenty of south of France sunshine. What a great memory to associate good wines with.

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JUDGING THE BEST: THE TOP 100

Posted on May 15, 2015 by Jack

The Sud de France Languedoc-Roussillon Top 100 has evolved into one of the most anticipated annual wine competitions. In March, a panel of some of the UK’s star writers, authors, buyers and sommeliers tasted, judged and shortlisted outstanding wines from one of the world’s most diverse and progressive wine regions – the Languedoc-Roussillon

Mention the south of France and everyone has a story. Many have enjoyed gourmet holidays in the historic towns and explored the picturesque wine countryside, and their thirst for a return visit is totally understandable. The Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the greatest destinations for easily accessible wine tourism, and the wine trade and enthusiasts are fast discovering the diversity, value and quality presented by the numerous wine styles, grape varieties and blends.

In this vast stretch, from the Mediterranean to the more western reaches with an Atlantic influence, lie such different and distinctive terrains, altitudes and microclimates, which shape one of the world’s largest winemaking regions. It can achieve with remarkable success what other French wine regions do traditionally well and stick to, plus it offers so much more of its own recent creation.

What the Languedoc-Roussillon offers is a dynamic harmony of well-backed, big-name brands through to boutique small-production wineries. Their mutual vision of a distinctive regional style comes together in wines which are reliably good value with easy appeal, yet have a distinctive character that give a sense of place. New discoveries, plus more and more top-end wines becoming available, give fresh opportunity to appreciate skilful winemaking and help spread the reputation of the region on a world-class level.

Over 30 indigenous grape varieties thrive in the south of France and there is plenty of freedom in winemaking styles. No wonder that it has sometimes been tricky to grasp fully what the strengths, charms and potential of the region really are.

During the intensive day of judging in London, the panel summed up their views and gave some pointers as to what the trade can get excited by in the new Top 100. Most importantly, the Top 100 is about much more than accolades and certificates. It steps up to being a year-round campaign to help introduce the wines into UK distribution and encourage consumers to buy them.

The mood of the judging was vibrant and fast-paced. With such informed and enthusiastic comments coming from every member of the judging panel, it was easy to streamline their views into a handy snapshot of the best of the Languedoc-Roussillon. The judges championed the easy character and drinkability of many of the wines, alongside diversity and accessible price points, and found plenty to recommend.

FAST FACTS

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Tim Atkin MW Launches the 2014 Top 100 results at the London International Wine Fair

Posted on May 29, 2014 by robfenech

The 2014 Top 100 results are now official, having been launched today at the London International Wine Fair by none other than Jury Chairman Tim Atkin MW. Back in April with the help of 18 leading wine industry experts, 100 wines were selected out of 664, and of those 15 trophies were awarded. You can browse them all here.

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A Fantastic Year for Whites

Posted on May 29, 2014 by robfenech

The biggest surprise of this year’s Top 100 was the incredible quality of the region’s white wines. 40% of this year’s Top 100 wines are white wines, which is incredible given that whites account for only 13% of the region’s wine production. Even jury member Rosemary George MW commented on this when writing about her experience judging the Top 100 in her blog http://tastelanguedoc.blogspot.co.uk. Having noted that the best flight she tasted during the judging was white, she says: “It makes me think that the whites of the Languedoc are too often overlooked and under-appreciated, and really should be taken much more seriously. They stand very happily alongside the reds”.

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Come and taste Top 100 wines at the Wine Gang and the Three Wine Men

Posted on May 29, 2014 by robfenech

The Top 100 wines are making their way across the UK to London, Bath, York and Edinburgh for a series of wine shows. For the first time since the Top 100’s launch back in May, members of the public will finally get their change to taste some of the Top 100 wines. Sud de France will be at the following wine shows showcasing this year’s crop of Top 100 wines:

27-28 September 2014, York, The Three Wine Men
15 November 2014, London, The Wine Gang
22 November 2014, Bath, The Wine Gang
29 November 2014, Edinburgh, The Wine Gang
6-7 December 2014, London, The Three Wine Men

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