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2024 Sud de France Top 100 tasting to showcase best Occitanie wines

Published:  30 May, 2024

The 2024 Top 100 Sud de France tasting event is set to showcase the finest wines from Languedoc, Roussillon and the South-West on 12 June in London. For the first time, attendees will experience a self-pour tasting format, allowing visitors to explore the Top 100 wines at their own pace.

Representing 28% of French still wine sold in the UK, Occitanie outperforms all other French regions in volume. The UK is the fourth-ranked export market for Occitanie wines, showing the strongest increase among all export countries – a 4.2% rise in volume and a 9.8% increase in value, according to French Customs figures.

Now in its 12th edition, this year the Top 100 features winners from 58 producers, showcasing a broad spectrum of wines from everyday selections to special occasion bottles.

A revamped judging format has ensured the selection remains relevant and vibrant, with over 50% of the winning wines seeking UK distribution. The trend for high-quality wines is evident, with a rise in winners priced at £20 and above, up to 49% compared to 37% in 2023. Judges praised the overall quality, highlighting the region's increasing status and the skills of its producers. Notably, joint Best Red winners include an elegant AOP Minervois la Livinière and an intense IGP Côtes Catalanes.

Reviving historic grape varieties such as Piquepoul Noir, Rivairenc and Clairette, along with innovative PIWI varieties, highlights the region’s dynamic winemaking. Additionally, a steady share of winners from cooperatives, at 20%, indicates the sector's overall quality. This year, the judging was chaired by popular broadcaster-authors Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW, who led notable changes in the blind tasting format. For the first time, judges were provided with price information, adding a new dimension to the selection process. Judges included senior buyers from Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, and specialist retailers like Stone, Vine & Sun, Jeroboams, Tanner Wines and The Wine Society.

Isabelle Kanaan, executive director for the Bureau de la Région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée in London, said: “We thank our judges for their meticulous selection and focus. The annual Sud de France Top 100 tasting on 12 June is an essential event for the UK trade, as the Top 100 is a standard for them to discover and buy the region’s wines. All sizes of producers and nearly all AOPs and IGPs are represented. Quality wines are winning the day – there’s a clear rise in winning wines of £20 and over. There will be further Top 100 initiatives during the year for off-trade buyers, right through to on-trade sommeliers, to get to know the evolution of winemaking in Occitanie and the increasing importance of the wines in a worldwide arena”.

The campaign will continue throughout the year, spotlighting Top 100 winners available in UK retail, with a consumer focus. Registration details for the tasting can be found here.