Hah, okay, I promise that the next wine I do will not be French. I’m not about to go re-branding this place as La Bouteille Vide. But, I mentioned this AOC in my discussion of the Bergerac Moulin des Dames, so it seemed remiss not to have at least a bottle up on the site. It also serves another informing purpose:
Touraines are essentially why I have such a love affair with both French wine and Sauvignon Blancs.
It’s just … they’re really just what I look for. I’m not gonna make you read the tasting notes twice, so check down below for me waxing poetic over this wine.
The Loire Valley is a lovely place in Central France, low-lying and mild in climate. It covers a fairly large region, about 300 square miles, along the central corridor of France. The vineyards and Chateaus in particular gather around the Loire River (surprise!), where the drainage and moisture is best.
Its climate is, as I mentioned, quite mild–with winter lows rarely dipping below freezing and summer highs rarely breaking 80º. It can be a bit rainy during the summer, but otherwise, the precipitation is neither too much or too little. The river brings the average temperature up a few degrees, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker.
In short, it’s what you want for growing grapes and making wine.
I’ll let the notes speak for themselves, but here’s some pertinent information:
Full name: Caves de la Tourangelle, Touraine, 2016. Appellation Touraine Contrôlée.
Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc (100%).
Price (to the nearest $5): $15.
– Like its cousin Moulin des Dames, a pale straw color. I want to say there’s a hint of green, but that may be me looking a touch too hard.
– Fresh sort of grassiness on the nose; not overwhelming or overpowering by any means, but certainly lovely and fresh.
– Subtle yellow fruit, apples and perhaps apricots? Maybe even a touch of pear. But they take a back seat to the grassiness regardless.
– So beautifully subtle. Like … silk on the tongue. A bit of grassiness, a bit of fruit–wonderful wonderful integration. Lovely balanced acidity.
– Again, lingering fruit, just those very subtle apples and pears. Like the last faint breath of apple blossoms on the wind. Just delightful.
Yeah, I mean. This bottle–and bottles like it–are why I love French Sauvignon Blancs. It’s just this intensely drinkable experience. Because everything is so lovely and balanced, I never have to worry about, ‘do I need some cheese to balance this out?’, or, ‘is it so dry that I’m going to evolve gills just to take in enough water to keep from being parched?’. And that’s the thing–it is certainly a dry French Sauvignon, but it’s not a wine that is dry and nothing else. While I harbor no great affection for sweet wines, there are cases where a wine is simply too dry. With this Touraine, the complementary grassiness, freshness, and dryness all work in harmony. On top of Sauv Blanc being one of my favorite grapes, the terroir of the Loire Valley (or should I say, terloire?) produces a superbly balanced, wonderfully integrated, alarmingly drinkable bottle.
This is pretty close to one of my favorite white wines, overall. The only one I can think of giving the edge over this is, in fact, another Touraine. When I get my hands on Vallée des Rois again, perhaps we’ll do a comparison post! That could be super fun.
I also feel as if it’s worth noting that there is a much-better-known sibling of Touraine: Sancerre, which is another AOC famously known for its Sauvignon Blancs. The reason I went for Touraine, besides the ‘obscurity’-cred, is that I actually (broadly speaking) prefer Touraines over Sancerres. I find Touraine produces consistently more interesting SBs than Sancerre–if only because Sancerres tend to be very heavily invested in making sure that the wines are as stony, dry, and mineral as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore Sancerres, but for me, there’s just something about Touraine that I really fell in love with.