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Loire Valley Cabernet Franc: panel tasting results

This was an uneven tasting given the recent run of good vintages, but our judges were pleased with the quality they found among a good number of wines that will give pleasure now and into the future.

Jim Budd, Ben Llewellyn and Laure Patry tasted 57 wines, with two Outstanding and 18 Highly Recommended.

Loire Valley Cabernet Franc panel tasting scores

57 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 2

Highly recommended 18

Recommended 27

Commended 8

Fair 2

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their latest-release, dry red wines made from Cabernet Franc (90% minimum) from the Loire Valley, including AP, IGP or Vin de France wines, with availability in the UK

I had high hopes for this tasting, given the unprecedented, unbroken run of good to very good vintages from 2014 to 2020. And there were some very good wines, though there were also some disappointments, even from 2018.

Fellow judge Ben Llewelyn confirmed this outlook: ‘Difficult vintages, especially a series of frosted years, have tested the mettle and patience of growers in the region and it showed in many of the wines. My overall impression of the wines was moderate – but with some shining stars.’

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top-scoring Loire Valley Cabernet Franc wines

The top-scoring Loire Valley Cabernet Franc wines:

The wines below all scored 90 points or above

The judges

Jim Budd is an awarded wine writer and photographer. Writing for Decanter since 1989, he is the DWWA Regional Chair for the Loire. He is a founder-member of the Les 5 duVin blog, writes on the dangers of wine investment on investdrinks-blog. blogspot.com, plus his own jimsloire.blogspot.com.

Ben Llewellyn is managing director of wine importer Carte Blanche Wines, and specialises in terroir-driven, low-intervention wines from France and Spain. He has worked in the wine trade for 24 years and currently lives in Wales.

Laure Patry is executive head sommelier at The Social Company, working across its global restaurant group. She previously worked for Gordon Ramsay Holdings, including almost two years at Claridge’s and then six years at Maze.

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