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France, Chile rewarded in the world’s first Concours Mondial du Sauvignon

The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – together with the ODG Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur – launched the first Concours Mondial du Sauvignon during the Bordeaux Fete le Vin wine fair.

Over 40 tasters from ten countries took part, including writer David Cobbold, and winemakers JD Pretorius from Steenberg vineyards in South Africa, and Jean Christophe Bourgeois from Domaine Henri Bourgeois in the Loire.

512 wines were presented for this first edition, from France, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece and Brazil.

France dominated both awards and entries – with over 300 entries and 90 awards. Chile was the next most successful, with 61 entries and 21 medals. Casa Marin Sauvignon Blanc from Cipresse Vineyard took the trophy for unoaked sauvignon over €12 and Michel Laurent 2009 from Sancerre the trophy for under €12.

Around 80,000ha of Sauvignon Blanc are estimated to be planted worldwide, with the largest concentrations in France, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.

It is a grape that is popular with consumers, but not often with critics, and was compared recently to ‘the thinking man’s Pinot Grigio’ by Lulie Halstead of Wine Intelligence, and ‘a dud’ by wine critic Mike Steinberger.

‘Sauvignon is an extremely demanding grape variety to get right,’ JD Pretorius told decanter.com, ‘but it is often derided by critics as being too populist, or one-dimensional.

Even consumers in South Africa seem to be slowly moving away from it back towards lightly oaked Chardonnays – but it’s a grape variety that deserves better critical recognition when in the hands of the right producers.’

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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