Well-known to lovers of Loire wines, the Concours des Ligers is a wine competition that takes place every year in Angers. Its mission? To reward the best Loire wines, from the Auvergne to the Atlantic coast.
A competition dedicated to the wines of the Loire Valley
Concours Général Agricole, Concours des Grands Vins de France de Mâcon, Challenge Millésime Bio… It is not easy to find your way around all the wine competitions that exist in France. However, if you are a fan of Chinon, Pouilly Fumé, Saumur Champigny or one of the many other appellations that border the royal river, no doubt you have heard of the Concours des Ligers, which has been held every year since 1995 at the Parc des Expositions in Angers, on the eve of the Salon des Vins de Loire.
Organised by the Oenologists of the Loire Valley, this competition is dedicated exclusively to the Loire vineyards, hence the name of its medals: the Ligers, Liger being the ancient name given by the Gauls to the Loire.
An astonishing diversity of terroirs
With more than 1000 km, the Loire is the longest river in France. It rises in the Massif Central and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, crossing 14 departments. It is therefore not surprising that the Loire vineyards are the largest in France and the 3rd largest region for appellation wines!
The icing on the cake is that since 2000, the Loire Valley vineyard has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, from Chalonnes-sur-Loire to Sully-sur-Loire.
It is divided into four production regions: the Nantes region, Anjou, Touraine and the Centre, all of which share a generally temperate climate.
However, if the wines of the Loire Valley had to be defined in a single word, the most appropriate would undoubtedly be: diversity.
- Diversity of AOPs
Between dry, semi-dry, sweet and syrupy white wines, reds, rosés and sparkling wines, the richness of the 52 Loire appellations makes you feel dizzy.
Large appellations such as Muscadet (3600 hectares) rub shoulders with confidential appellations such as Coulée de Serrant (7 ha). Their names intrigue, make you dream, travel… or salivate: Coteaux d’Ancenis, Fiefs Vendéens, Anjou Rouge, Saumur Champigny, Saint Pourçain, Sancerre, Cabernet d’Anjou, Savennières, Touraine, Valençay, Quincy, Crémant de Loire…
- Diversity of terroirs
The vines of the Loire Valley grow on a multitude of soils: granite and mica schist in the Nantes vineyards, slate schist in Anjou Noir, tuffeau chalk in the Saumur and Touraine vineyards, sand and gravel on the terraces along the Loire and Vienne rivers… So many different geological types and exposures that affect the choice of grape varieties.
- Diversity of grape varieties
No less than 24 grape varieties are used in the composition of Loire wines, but most of the wines are made from a single grape variety: cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, cot, gamay, pinot noir, grolleau for the reds; melon de Bourgogne, chenin, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay for the whites, to name but a few…
Course of the Concours des Ligers 2021
It is all this diversity that meets at the Concours des Ligers…
For its 28th edition, due to the health context, the Loire Wine Fair, which usually welcomes several hundred exhibitors and some 10,000 visitors, has been postponed to the spring, and then finally postponed to 2022. Fortunately, the Concours des Ligers resisted the Covid crisis and was held on 30 January 2021!
Imagine the huge hall of the Parc des Expositions in Angers, filled with carefully spaced tables! At each table, 3 tasters, mostly from the wine industry (wine merchants, winemakers, journalists, oenophiles), taste samples of Loire wines blind, following a rigorous protocol in a studious atmosphere. The tasting impressions are exchanged and the table makes a joint decision.
In the end, no less than 2,550 wine samples were tasted at the Concours des Ligers 2021 and the 200 tasters awarded 800 Ligers, including Gold, Silver and Bronze.
A silver medal for Jouvencelle de Rocheville
Among the winners of the Concours des Ligers 2021 is our 100% chenin organic Saumur Blanc, La Jouvencelle 2020. In the family of Domaine de Rocheville wines (La Dame, Le Roi, La Favorite…), La Jouvencelle is the youngest. Proof, to quote Corneille, that to the well-born, talent does not wait for the number of years, it was honoured with a Silver Liger!
It is a fresh and fruity cuvée with a beautiful aromatic intensity, very representative of the Saumur Blanc appellation and which expresses marvellously the qualities of its clay-limestone terroir. It must be said that Chenin has been flourishing for centuries on the Parnay plateau, on the edge of the Loire, where it benefits from a very favourable micro-climate.
The silver Liger awarded to La Jouvencelle is certainly a fine reward and we are delighted. But beyond the medals, it is the Loire Wines as a whole that benefit, with the Concours des Ligers , from a beautiful showcase to make their incredible diversity known in France and beyond our borders.