The Wines Of Touraine
The province of Touraine is known as the garden of France, and its wines were
esteemed even before those of Anjou.
The styles are similar to those in Anjou and the Saumurois, the climate ideal
and the soil, whether it he the chalky-clayey tuffeau or the sandy-gravelly
alluvial plains, is perfect for the vine.
The Pineau de Ia Loire (Chenin Blanc) is at its best and most diverse in
Touraine, while the Cabernet Franc (le Breton) and the Gamay produce the most
attractive reds and rosés. Touraine is at the centre of the Loire Valley and
represents, more concisely than the other provinces, the wines of the Loire
Valley at their most typical and distinctive.
Dry, semisweet and sweet white, red and rosé wines are made in the départements
of Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and a very little in the Indre.
The permitted grape varieties are: White wines: Pineau de Ia Loire (Chenin
Blanc), Menu-Pineau (or Arbois), Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which is limited to
20% of the area planted.
Red wines: Cabernet Franc (Breton), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cot, Pinot Meunier,
Pinot Gris, Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay.
Rosés: as above, plus the Groslot.
The minimum alcohol content is 9% for the reds and 95% for the whites and rosés,
from a basic yield of 45 hi/ha.
The Sauvignon is planted to the east of the appellation, as is the Gamay.
These fresh young wines, packed with fruit, are often seen under the names,
'Sauvignon de Touraine' and 'Gamay de Touraine, to benefit from both the
popularity of the grape varieties and the regional appellation.
They are an excellent, and less expensive alternative to the Sauvignons from the
centre of France (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé) and the Gamays from the Beaujolais.
The name of an individual commune may be added to Touraine on the label, if the
wines are particularly distinctive.
Around 35 million bottles of wine are produced annually in Touraine, the style
more the grape variety than the actual appellation.
The Chenin Blanc has much in common with the Saumur whites, and finds the best
expression of its honeysuckle-lemony fruit in the wines of Vouvray.
The rosés are drier than in Anjou, perhaps more elegant as well.
A sub-denomination, not an appellation, has been revived, Les Vin de Noble Joué,
wines of the palest pink with a particular aroma of peaches.
The reds made from the Breton (Cabernet Franc) are important wines of great
fragrance and fruit, while those made from the minor varieties are simpler,