The Touraine appellation sits in the Loire Valley of northwest France. Stretching approximately 60 miles along the River Loire from Anjou in the west to Sologne in the east, it's large size and diversity of terrain and climate means that many types of wine can be produced. We take a look at some of these exceptional wines.
The climate of Touraine changes from Oceanic in the west favouring late-ripening grapes, to Continental further east favouring earlier ripening varieties. Soils are also varied, but the best are seen as those benefiting from the Tuffeau rock that the region is famed for. This calcerous, porous limestone rock hails from the Cretaceous period and brings excellent drainage to soils and nutrients to vines. Touraine also benefits from the tributaries of the River Loire and sun-catching slopes of the river valley.
Of wines produced, 59% are white, 22% red, 8% rose and 11% sparkling. The main varietal grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Malbec and Grolleau. One of our favourite producers of the 360 practising in the region is Les Mazelles, who produce the three top varieties within their range. Established in the 1930's, they have 15 hectares of prime vineyards of flint soils located along the Cher river valley right bank, just by Thezee village.
Their delicate Rose brings freshness and power on the nose with notes of small red fruits before a balanced, round palate and crisp strawberry finish. Their youthful Sauvignon Blanc offering shows vibrant, crisp lime aromas with a subtle leafy, herbaceous undertone. The palate shows fantastic weight in the rich, full Touraine style classic grassy, zesty lime and subtle tropical fruit on the finish. Finally, their Pinot Noir uses old vine grapes traditionally matured in three wine old barrels for 9 and 11 months. The result is intense dark and red fruit on the nose such as blackcurrant, cherries and raspberries. The smooth and powerful palate adds notes of liquorice and soft spice.
We can't speak of Touraine though without also mentioning the famed Vouvray sub-region. Situated just east of Tours and running along the Loire and its Brenne tributary, Vouvray is known for its excellent Chenin Blanc wines. Such is its reputation for wines of full texture, layered complexity and great lifespan, wines are often labelled by appellation rather than grape and sought out by wine connoisseurs.
Clos de Nouys offer a classic still white Vouvray with intense and fruity aromas showing notes of white flowers and quince. Sweet flavours of citrus fruit and acacia flowers with a touch of fresh almonds balance with crisp zest on the off-dry palate. Their traditional method sparkling Vouvray has those fruity aromas in more delicate form with the floral, citrus and subtle nutty notes layering throughout the bubbles in the mouth.