See five of the top scoring wines from our panel tasting...

 Top dry Loire Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is the Loire’s most fascinating and diverse grape variety, capable of making a remarkable range of styles from bone-dry through to lusciously sweet as well as still and sparkling. Wines from the Loire is predicted to be one of the main wine trends for 2017.

Chenin Blanc is largely confined to Anjou-Saumur and Touraine with outposts in Coteaux du Loir, in particular Jasnières, as well as the Fiefs Vendéens close to the Atlantic Coast.

Tasters on this panel tasting were Jim Budd, Chris Kissack and Ben Llewelyn. Wines below were chosen based on score and availability.

More on Loire Chenin Blanc

There is now a little Chenin planted way south in the Upper Loire in the Roannaise and Forez, where leading producers are experimenting with a range of white grapes. These wines will appear as IGP.

While there is a tradition in Vouvray and elsewhere in the Loire for fermenting and ageing wines in old wood, increasingly top Loire Chenin Blanc producers use newer wood, usually with a small proportion of new oak.

There is a tendency to use 400-, 500- and 600-litre barrels with a medium toast rather than 225- or 228-litre barriques, so as to lessen oak flavour. There are also limited experiments using amphorae and concrete eggs.