Touraine Sparkling Wine
25th January 2021
Touraine is an immense region, so big that the famous region of Vouvray lies entirely within it!
The Touraine region itself is said to stretch the whole way from Chinon in the West, all the way to Orleans in the North-East, down to Valencay in the South East.
The reality is that bottles of all varieties bearing the name Touraine can only be found in small regions, dotted around the more central wine growing areas of Touraine as a whole, adrift from one another.
Each individual region giving a unique signature expression; an interpretation of its individual terroir.
The recognised appellations are; Touraine Amboise, Touraine Azay le Rideau, Touraine Mesland, Touraine Mousseux, Touraine Petillant and Touraine (yes, to make matters more confusing, a small but brilliant appellation near Valencay exists baring the name of Touraine alone).
Many producers within this region make it very clear that their sparkling wine is for a special occasion by utilising tasteful yet unconventional label designs, tying the drink in closely with the region’s theme ‘The Garden of France’.
The positioning of Touraine and it’s attachment to the Loire river lend itself sublimely to the production of vibrant, sometimes downright flamboyant, sparkling wine that cannot be found elsewhere, and that can generally be kept upwards of 2-3 years.
Whilst the traditions of winemaking are very much a driving force for producers within Touraine and with incredible Touraine AOC Methode Traditionnelle being produced (the sparkling white wine baring the name Touraine can only be made using Chenin Blanc); the more innovative artists will grow several acres of Chardonnay each, in order to go against the grain and produce a show stopping sparkling white bearing the generic Vin de France categorisation, dropping the name Touraine from the label altogether.
Rosé wine is primarily made here using Cabernet Franc or Cot, with Pineau d’aunis and Pinot Noir sometimes relied upon in support. Whilst the sparkling Rosé produced in Touraine using Cabernet and Cot are, at their best, of equally high quality to one another; they are worlds apart in terms of flavour.
Here, the usefully acidic Cot grape mellows and gives way to softer summer fruits, notably peach, and develops some biscuit when double fermented. Whereas the generally blackcurranty, often funky Cabernet Franc gets the streamlined treatment, retaining it’s cocoa notes and in certain instances adding a good dose of spice when produced to create bubbly.
Sparkling wine production is an art form across The Loire Valley.
With Touraine being at the very heart, taking water to its vine’s courtesy of not only the Loire but the Cher, it is no wonder that even within the relatively small regions of Touraine itself, there lies a vast array of sparkling white, rosé and rare sparkling red wine available.
The very best bubbly produced here is made to the same standards as Champagne. The Chenin Blanc grape used in Touraine may not carry the minerality that Champagne does; however it creates creamy, intensely-frothy, focused sparkling wine reminiscent of apple pie and ice cream. It’s the type of wine that excels at innocently inviting you in, only to hold you hostage.
Written by: Christopher Garry of elitewinetour.com
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