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New release Loire white wines: the best from 2019 and 2020

The Loire has enjoyed a succession of good vintages, so it's the perfect time to seek out the best white buys. Jim Budd assesses the 2020 vintage and recommends top picks from 2019/20, from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and beyond.

These are happy days in the Loire. 2020 is the seventh successive good to very good vintage in the region, with this series starting in 2014.

The Loire has never experienced such a run of good vintages. The last poor vintage was 2013, which was hampered by a very cold spring leading to a late flowering in the latter part of June. 

Frost-free vintage

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the 2020 vintage posed particular challenges as workers had to be socially distanced.

Fortunately late winter and early March were wet, building up reserves. During the March to May lockdown the weather was dry and sunny with no spring frosts, making 2020 along with 2018 the only two frost-free vintages in the last five.

Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of 35 new-release Loire white wines

Apart from the occasional heat spike, the 2020 harvest was an ‘easy’ and early one, with picking beginning for the early-ripening grape varieties in late August. Yields overall were normal, so replenishing cellars after the frost-affected 2019.

Loire white wines: 35 great buys from the 2019 & 2020 vintages

Wines have been listed in score order 

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