JUDGING THE BEST: THE TOP 100
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.
- 600 wines from 178 producers were rigorously blind tasted by six panels of judges. The shortlisted wines were then tasted again by different judges
- Once the Top 100 wines were selected, the judges tasted the selected wines and awarded 19 trophies
- The Top 100 comprises wines from 67 producers
- 65 wines are AOC and 35 IGP
- 68% are red wines, 27% white wines, 5% rosé
- 30% are varietal wines, 70% are blends
- Consumers can then share in the excitement at Bastille Day-themed, July tastings in wine merchants. The wines will also be presented at tastings at gourmet events, including the Three Wine Men and Wine Gang shows in key cities; also in Majestic stores and via new food and wine initiatives