This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Loire Sauvignon Blanc under £15 went to Michel Thomas & Fils, Sancerre 2013 (12.5%)
- No other Golds in this category
Michel and Laurent Thomas triumphed in 2013 in what was a challenging vintage in the Loire. Damp spring conditions affected bud-break, delaying flowering until late June. This was followed by a generous, sunny summer that came to a humid and sticky conclusion, resulting in rot for many. Site, aspect and selection were the keys to success, and the poise of this Trophy-winner admirably demonstrates this.
Michel Thomas took over the estate in Egrots, a hamlet of Sury-en-Vaux 5km from Sancerre, in 1970; his father had managed it since 1946. He farms 40 parcels across four villages and three distinct soil types, totalling 17 hectares, 11ha of which are planted to Sauvignon Blanc.
The soil type here determines the nature of the wine, with fruit grown on the slopes with high limestone content giving a fruity, forward style, while clay soils contribute texture and longevity. Thomas is particularly proud of the gravel and limestone patches of Les Caillottes, the silex-rich clay soil found in their eastern vineyards. This Trophy- winner is a blend of all three, with 20% of fruit from the silex soil giving tight focus.
Total annual production here is up to 12,000 cases, with exports making up a hefty 65% to 70% of their business. There is also a 450-case bottling of Sil’ex, with 100% of fruit (oak matured) from the Les Caillottes plot – this is worth seeking out.
Written by Decanter