This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Sweet Loire over £15 went to Château la Varière, Les Guerches, Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru 2011 (11%)

Tasted against:

  • Château Soucherie, Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume 2011
  • Domaine du Petit Métris, Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru 2011

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Chateau la Variere sits next to the village of Brissac-Quincé in Anjou. A stunning property, it dates back to the medieval era, while wine production on the estate can be traced back to the 15th century – a cellar on the property dates from this time and is still fully operational.

Today the area under vine is 110 hectares and over the years owner and winemaker Jacques Beaujeau has invested much time and expense into the analysis of his soils – with clearly rewarding results. Chemical treatments are kept to a minimum, and any that are used are applied at specific times throughout the season, to ensure that no traces are found in the grapes come harvest.

Grass on the estate is regularly trimmed to create a natural compost, inhibit ladybirds and other vine parasites, and to maximise the rainwater available to the vines.

This Trophy-winner is 100% Chenin Blanc, a grape variety susceptible to noble rot, therefore making it extremely suited to the misty mornings found in Anjou. The vines are planted on schist soils on steep hillsides, and the grapes are picked by hand over a number of tries during harvest.

Written by Decanter